Parity for Disability’s history and milestones.
The charity begins as a local branch of a national charity for children and adults with cerebral palsy. The group does not run services, but fundraises successfully for local provision, in particular, raising significant funds towards the set up of a school and assessment centre for children with cerebral palsy.
A formal study of services for people with disabilities in the North Hampshire/West Surrey area shows that services are needed for adults aged 18+ with multiple disabilities.
The charity’s first Day Services Centre opens in Burrell Lodge on Frogmore Community Campus, Yateley, Hants. Six students attend, two days per week.
The Day Services Centre now supports 13 students per day, five days a week. A second service opens at 94 Whetstone Rd, Farnborough, Hants and expands into 93 Whetstone Road in early 1999.
The Human Rights Act is passed, stating clearly that everyone has the same rights and choices, and should, therefore, be able to have the same opportunities to access services.
The original service in Yateley moves to the Old Dean Youth Centre, Camberley, Surrey.
The government publishes Valuing People, the New Strategy for Learning Disabilities in the 21st Century. It is intended to tackle the issues around disability and social care. However, it does not address provision for people with profound disabilities, and their needs continue to go largely unrecognised.
The Camberley service in the Old Dean Youth Centre moves across the road to the main hall of St Martin’s Church.
Parity for Disability launches a capital appeal to raise funds to construct its own dedicated building in Farnborough, Hants.
The government publishes Putting People First, outlining a vision of enabling people to live independently and have complete choice and control in their lives.
The government paper Valuing People Now acknowledges that people with profound disabilities are still overlooked by government policy.
A report by Eric Emerson, Estimating Future Numbers of Adults with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities in England is published. We are able to roughly estimate the number of adults with multiple disabilities who might require specialised services like those of Parity: approximately 0.03% of the population.
Professor Jim Mansell’s report Raising Our Sights: services for adults with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities highlights the importance of individualised services, properly trained staff, and issues around health care and communication. Its recommendations are completely in tune with Parity for Disability’s mission and work.
The government response to the report is that the responsibility for implementing most of the recommendations will be left with local authorities and voluntary organisations.
The Equality Act is passed, stating that public organisations such as local authorities and health trusts have to make their services accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and their families.
Parity for Disability puts on hold the capital appeal for a dedicated building, due to the economic climate.
Parity for Disability’s Farnborough day service expands into 92 Whetstone Rd. The additional four spaces per day are filled within a year.
The Caring for Our Future White Paper sets out the government’s plans to promote a market of services delivering what local people need. The Department of Health launches the ‘Developing Care Markets for Quality and Choice’ programme to help local authorities to develop the skills and expertise that are needed. Barriers exist to developing these services for people with multiple disabilities.
Parity for Disability is being regularly contacted by concerned parents whose son or daughter has left, or is about to leave, further education. There is a growing waiting list.
Parity for Disability opens a third day service in Mytchett, Surrey.