We guide you through the 40-year history of The Disabilities Trust in the final part of our A to Z series. From setting up technology for people with disabilities, to opening our first independent hospital.
S is for School. We educate 76 children and young people with autism every year. In 2002, we bought Heathermount School in Ascot and built a new music room. Alongside the National Curriculum, we teach vocational qualifications in catering and hospitality, business administration and horticulture. In 2019-2020 we increased our student numbers by nearly a quarter.
T is for Technology.We are exploring ways in which we can support those in our service to enhance their well-being and enrich their lives through mainstream technology. Led by the Foundation Department, we are exploring ways to install devices like Amazon Echos, provide training and arrange ongoing support for those we support
U is for Users. We support over 800 people with an acquired brain injury, complex physical or learning disabilities and autism every year. The people who use our services are at the centre of everything we do. Our person-centred support helps people to live as independently as possible.
V is for Village. We're providing a 'village' for people with disabilities – a term used by our founder Barbara Besant to describe a support network that stops people with disabilities from becoming isolated. Before The Disabilities Trust was set up in 1980, people with disabilities tended to live in isolated large institutions.
W is for Huw Thatcher Trust. New physiotherapy equipment, IT facilities, garden areas and kitchens to practice cooking are supporting people with brain injuries at our rehabilitation centres. The equipment and facilities were paid for using a generous donation of £105,000 from the Huw Thatcher Trust. Nick Thatcher set up the Trust in 2011 after his son Huw died from a brain hemorrhage.
X is for Xylophone. We use music therapy to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of people with brain injuries. It helps them to express themselves and feel motivated. In 2019-2020, we worked with music therapy charity, Nordoff Robbins, to provide music therapy at our brain injury rehabilitation centres.
Y is for York House. In 1999, we worked with specialist mental health provider, The Retreat, to open our first independent hospital for people with an acquired brain injury and complex needs or challenging behaviour. Treatment is adapted to meet the needs of patients and covers everything from vocational training to behaviour management.
Z is for Izzy Judd. People with brain injuries at Kent House in Aylesbury are benefiting from better equipment and facilities to support their rehabilitation. In 2011, violinist Izzy Judd – whose brother was seriously injured in a care accident and lives at Kent House – launched a fundraising appeal, Eyes Alight, to improve the lives of residents. Over £190,000 was raised for new laptops so residents can keep in touch with their families, and to build a sensory garden and run music therapy sessions.
Watch our 40-year anniversary video to understand more about how The Disabilities Trust improves lives.