In the 1960s, there were limited opportunities available for people with learning disabilities when they reached adulthood. So, in 1962 a group of visionary parents that had children with learning disabilities and who wanted to ensure a better life for them, set up Hft.
To ensure their children would continue to learn and develop and fulfil their full potential after leaving school, these parents joined together to purchase Frocester Manor in Gloucestershire, creating a home in which people with learning disabilities could be supported to lead fulfilling lives.
From this small beginning, Hft has grown to support more people with learning disabilities and their families.
In 1982, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal honoured Hft by accepting an invitation to become our Royal Patron. Since then, HRH has made many visits to our services, conferences and fundraising event, helping to promote the charity and champion the rights of the people we support.
As well as small, person-centred residential care homes, we now support more people to live independently in their homes through our supported living services. We also provide support for people with learning disabilities to take part in activities, to make friends or develop relationships and to find work.
Launched in 1993, Hft’s Family Carer Support Service provides one to one support and information to family carers of people with a learning disability, supported by Hft or other learning disability service providers.
Hft is also a market leader in the provision of what we call ‘personalised technology’ – using assistive technology to support people with learning disabilities to achieve greater independence in their lives.
In May 2013, Hft merged with Self Unlimited, a charity that was also set up in the 1960s to provide support for people with learning disabilities. Originally known as CARE (Cottage And Rural Enterprises), Self Unlimited’s similar values and philosophy meant a merger between the two charities made sense, as the combined charity benefited from the wealth of experience and knowledge of both organisations.
Following the merger, the larger, stronger Hft now supports more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities nationwide.
Although things have changed since the 1960s, what hasn’t changed is our desire to achieve better lives for people with learning disabilities, and to support their families in providing the best possible future for them.