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History and track record

Created by a merger of the charities The Shaftesbury Society and John Grooms in 2007, Livability is building on a 170-year track record of ground-breaking community work.

Our charity’s forefathers John Grooms and Lord Shaftesbury were pioneers of social change in their day. Livability is inspired by their story and strives to deliver impactful and relevant services that meet the needs of society today. Livability is proud of a heritage that:

  • pioneered free school education and sheltered workshops, which were among the first of their kind in the 1800s.
  • broke new ground by taking disabled young people out of hospital wards and into schools.
  • supported disabled people in our schools and colleges, improving the vocational opportunities for many.
  • has been at the forefront of raising awareness for disability and mental health issues within the UK church and developed a rich portfolio of community engagement training used by churches across the country.
  • seen us work with one in three local authorities, helping them meet the challenges of a changing care sector.

Lord Shaftesbury

Lord Shaftesbury was popularly known as the ‘Reforming Lord Shaftesbury’ and the ‘Poor Man’s Earl’, because many of the reforms he championed helped the poor and the working class of Victorian Britain. He was the President of The Ragged School Union which eventually became The Shaftesbury Society in 1944.

John Grooms

John Groom was a deeply Christian man, who set out to help destitute, orphaned and disabled girls in the poorest areas of London. From this grew the charity ‘John Grooms’ which delivered ground-breaking care for disabled people. More than a century after its foundation the charity was still providing employment and homes for disabled people.

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