In our 40th year, Irene Sobowale, Chief Executive of The Disabilities Trust, says the work of Trust is more needed than ever - ‘In the “new normal” we must ensure that vulnerable people receive the care and support they need and feel enabled to live the lives they choose. With our remarkable legacy, we must hold onto our values and all that is special about the Trust, so that we can continue for another 40 years!’.

I’m very proud to introduce a series of stories from around the Trust showcasing the difference we continue to make. Our impact is best expressed by the people we are here to support. You’ll meet some of these people in our anniversary video and over the coming few months, as we celebrate the difference we have made over the last 40 years.

Hull City Football fan Ben is someone who has benefited from our 40 years’ experience of improving lives.

‘After you’ve had a brain injury, you just go all quiet thinking people are against you and nobody wants to know you anymore,’ says Ben in the video we made to celebrate our 40-year anniversary. ‘I lost all sense of hope in myself. The people in the residential home do what they do because they care about people in our situation. It’s good that there are people there, guiding me on the right path.’

Ben, with some support from us, has developed the skills he needs to move on to more independent supported living. 'It’s been a long journey but I’m there now,' says Ben who has lived at York House and Daniel Yorath House.

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Responding and adapting

Our story began in 1980 with a small group of passionate and determined people who shared a belief. They felt everybody should have the right to live the life they chose, in an environment that was suited to achieving this. I need to say a huge ‘thank you’ to our founders for their foresight and determination, and to everyone who has worked hard over the years to create the remarkable legacy which we are continuing to build on.

I joined The Disabilities Trust seven years ago and felt a great affinity for the organisation. I wanted to become a part of it as soon as I heard about the great work that it did. - I saw that every single staff member had a contribution to make and that ultimately, every contribution went towards improving people’s lives. That still holds true today.

We’ve evolved and expanded in the last 40 years, now providing services all over the UK to people with acquired brain injuries, physical disabilities and autism and learning disabilities, as well as running our specialist school for children with autism. The passion and commitment of our staff is still at the heart of everything we do, it’s who we are, and has never been more visible than during the recent, challenging times. It makes me extremely proud to be a part of the Trust and its success.

Focusing on the people we support

I am really excited for the future; the work that we are doing to reshape the organisation is all about preparing us for what is to come. Then, hopefully, in the next 40 years, someone else will come along and say, 'the people that came before us have done a really good job'.

I don’t know what the world will look like in 5 or 10 years’ time, but I do know that we will continue to work together to make a difference; giving each individual more choice and control over the shape of their support, whilst continuing to deliver high-quality services with the added DT difference – heart. It’s why we do, what we do, so that people like Ben, can feel the way that he does…

'I’ve done what rehab I’ve needed to do and I’m back home, living the dream,' he says."

Watch our 40-year anniversary video to understand more about how The Disabilities Trust improves lives.

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