Established in 1971 in St Annes on Sea by a small group of pioneering businessmen, who were relatives of children with learning disabilities and active supporters of the then National Society for Mentally Handicapped Children North West region (later MENCAP). Their objective was to provide a facility within the mainstream community, enabling residents to benefit from the theraputic qualities of the seaside.
In late 1971, they learned that a children’s home run by the the Church of England Sisterhood was due to close.It was agreed that the building, originally donated to the Sisters by the daughters of Abraham Ormerod, a wealthy cotton manufacturer, of Todmorden, in his memory, and henceforth called the Ormerod Home, was to be rented to these businessmen for a nominal figure.1972 saw the Trust established as a Charity and a Limited Company, adopting the name Ormerod Home Trust.
The name has continued to this day, despite having no real connection with the organisation’s origins or the work that we do. Many of the people still supported came to live at the Ormerod Home as children and it has been their wish that, for the time being, the name be preserved to provide a sense of continuity and belonging.
The original home, on Todmorden Rd, overlooking the sand dunes, was demolished in 1984 to make way for a luxury housing development. The residents then moved around the corner to a house on the promenade, that had previously been the Princes Hotel. During the 1980s, changes in government policy saw the closure of large hostels and the movement of residents into the wider community. This change in policy shaped the Ormerod of today.
The drive to assist and support people with learning disabilities in leading an ordinary life became Ormerod’s primary objective and led to the replacement of the large home with small domestic size houses in the community.
By 1997, all clients were living in their own homes supported by Ormerod employees. The organisation bought the vicarage on Headroomgate Road as its headquarters and there were eleven residential houses in the network, along with a St Annes based Resource Centre.
Since 2000, the agency has experienced a further period of change, including widening the service to cover the Wyre area. In particular, Ormerod responded to the demands of the government’s ‘Valuing People’ agenda to provide more tailored support, which led to supported living and domiciliary provision.
Whilst we continue to provide day services, the Resource Centre base, on St Albans Rd, closed in 2008 and we now focus on providing individualised responses to peoples’ day support needs. This includes supporting people into paid and voluntary employment and assisting small groups to set up business enterprises, of which the gardening, recycling and preserves production projects are examples. The diversification process has involved going back to our roots, of supporting children with disabilities and developing the training department to offer quality courses to the wider care sector.
Ormerod remains committed to being an innovative, responsive organisation, able and willing to meet challenges of the next four decades, with the same success and energy that we have utilised throughout the last.