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Our history

Although Livability is a new name, our organisation has been hard at work among the UK’s most marginalised people for over 160 years.

Our story begins with two visionary Victorians. John Groom was a young apprentice silversmith when he decided to dedicate himself to changing the future for the impoverished disabled people he saw around him. Article on John Groom

The seventh Earl of Shaftesbury was one of Britains greatest social reformers, whose broad-ranging concerns included education, animal welfare, public health and improving working conditions. Article on the 7th Earl Shaftesbury

Coming from different social positions, both men found inspiration in their Christian faith and applied all their energy, thought and resources to creating innovative, radical solutions to the problems of their day.

The two men inspired organisations which bore their name and were dedicated to building on their legacy: John Grooms and the Shaftesbury Society.

In 2007, these two organisations merged.

Today we are known as Livability. Although 160 years have passed since our founding, UK society is still in need of creative, passionate and inspired solutions to a range of social problems. We want to put our Christian faith into action, demonstrating the unique value of every individual and challenging the systems which deny people justice.

Grooms and Shaftesbury timeline to merger