Leonard Cheshire Disability
Leonard Cheshire is a major health and welfare charity working in the United Kingdom and running development projects around the world. It was founded in 1948 by Royal Air Force officer Leonard Cheshire.
The mission of the charity is to encourage and move disabled individuals toward independent living, with the freedom to live life their way. The charity supports disabled people through local care services including residential homes, supported living, domiciliary support, day services, activity centres, respite care, transition services, and employment and skills support. It also runs political campaigns on issues affecting disabled people.
The charity was originally known as The Cheshire Foundation Homes for the Sick, and in 1976 became the Leonard Cheshire Foundation. In 2007 it rebranded to Leonard Cheshire Disability and in 2018 its brand and logotype were simplified to Leonard Cheshire.
Cheshire started the charity in 1948 with a residential home for disabled ex-servicemen at Le Court, a large country house near Liss in Hampshire. By 1955 there were six Cheshire homes in Britain. The first overseas Cheshire Home was established in Mumbai, India, in 1956. By 1992 there were 270 homes in 49 countries.
Each of these "Cheshire Homes", as they came to be called, were similarly set up: local communities came forward, assembled a group of volunteers, found whatever suitable accommodation they could, set up administrative committees and began raising funds for development. This gave each Cheshire Home a local structure closely knit to the community they were serving, while being affiliated with an international organization.
The homes and services in the UK and Isle of Man are run by the UK charity. Over 200 other Cheshire homes and organisations around the world exist, run independently but affiliated to a Leonard Cheshire Global Alliance.
The UK charity is headquartered in London and its main stated objectives are "to provide effective and efficient community-based services to disabled people that respond to their preferences" and to "campaign in partnership with disabled people, allies and supporters for a society that provides equality to disabled people."
Leonard Cheshire provides support to disabled people through a variety of services including care at home, residential care and training and skills programmes. It describes itself as "the UK's leading voluntary sector provider of support services for disabled people". Its goal is to change attitudes to disability and to serve disabled people around the world.
The charity's activities are particularly focused on guiding and encouraging the disabled to move toward independence and live life their way. It formerly ran the Ability International Media Awards, recognising disabled people in the media.
The Ryder-Cheshire Mission was set up by Leonard Cheshire and his wife Sue Ryder at the time of their marriage in 1959, and later became the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation which operated until 2010. Other related former charities include Target Tuberculosis, operating in India and certain countries of Africa (2003–2016).
The Leonard Cheshire Disability & Inclusive Development Centre is a joint project by Leonard Cheshire Disability and University College London (originally set up in 1997 as the Leonard Cheshire Centre of Conflict Recovery). The Centre is dedicated to generating applied research on disability in development, with particular emphasis on poverty and economic development in terms of livelihoods, inclusive education and public health. Centre staff also work closely on policy issues at a global level, serving in an advisory capacity to a number of UN agencies (including UNDESA, UNICEF, ILO, World Bank) and bilateral organisations (including DFID, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia)). The Centre is based in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London.
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