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Our history

Created by a merger of The Shaftesbury Society and John Grooms, we have a 160-year track record in ground-breaking community work. Our rich heritage of social reform drives us and we are ambitious and determined to end social exclusion.

John Grooms

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.

The seventh Earl of Shaftesbury

One of Britains greatest social reformers, Lord Shaftesbury campaigned on a range of issues including education, animal welfare, public health and improving working conditions.

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.

Livability today

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