Livability welcomed its patron, HRH The Princess Royal, to a celebration afternoon tea in the City of London this past Monday, to mark the charity’s impact during the pandemic and its vision for the coming years. The celebration tea was hosted by BBC Songs of Praise presenter Pam Rhodes.
Announcing new special education provision for 2022
CEO, Sally Chivers took the opportunity to announce it will open a post-19 Further Education College, called Livability Millie College, for young adults with disabilities, which will be part of a cluster of existing Livability services in Dorset.
Around 180 guests attended the event at Draper’s Hall, drawn from people with disabilities supported by the charity, staff, donors and volunteers. Nick Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury and direct descendant of one of Livability’s founders, gave a keynote speech, as a guest of honour.
The Princess Royal responds to Livability’s response to Covid-19
In her speech, The Princess Royal highlighted the agility of the charity’s response to the first wave of coronavirus in March 2020, praising staff for the way they quickly adapted to new and demanding ways of working. Their commitment, said The Princess Royal, meant the hundreds of people in Livability’s care were kept safe, even when this meant staff sacrificing time with their own families to remain at their place of work. In addition, services went the extra mile to boost the wellbeing of all in their care, putting on safe entertainment and exercise classes and finding ways to make restricted life better. The Princess remarked upon the fortitude and patience shown by people who use Livability’s services, as life became extremely restricted, and went on to say:
“With over a thousand people in care, Livability continues to grow, but it also adapts to change. It grows because people recognise the value of what it (Livability) does, and that challenges us to continue to grow successfully.”
After sincerely thanking everyone in the Livability community for their dedication, resilience and generous support in the past two years, Chief Executive Sally Chivers was delighted to announce the charity’s plans to open Livability Millie College. A Further Education College which will take a skills-based approach to education. Key goals will include lifelong learning, enabling access to high-quality education and equipping young people with disabilities to live safe and independent lives. Millie College will be based across two sites: Livability Victoria School and Livability Holton Lee, both in or near Poole.
Sally Chivers also recognised the hugely valuable work of the Princess Royal Charities Forum, where Livability holds a seat to discuss with other charitable organisations on recent activities and projects, also allowing a platform for collaboration.
Lord Shaftesbury shares reflections on heritage and hopes for the future
Speaking to assembled guests, Nick Ashley-Cooper alluded to the pride he felt in his ancestor’s achievements in the nineteenth century, as he countered contemporary attitudes to disability to make a tangible difference to individuals’ lives. This spirit of courageous innovation was still very much at the heart of modern Livability, saying: ‘This charity has been a great example of how an organisation continue to be important and innovate as the world around it changes’. Lord Shaftesbury, who also added that he hoped to visit Millie College in the near future, to see innovation in action.
Elizabeth Harrison, Chaplaincy Manager for Livability and members of the Change for Future forum group, (A forum group that consists of people who are supported by Livability) spoke about what they were thankful for during the height of the pandemic through prayer and Makaton signing.
During the event guests were shown a short video presentation, showcasing how Livability and supporters navigated the challenges of pandemic through personal stories and achievements. You can watch the full video below.
We would like to thank the Draper’s Company for the historic venue, which was kindly gifted, and Livability would also like to extend sincere thanks to the events staff on the day for their support and hospitality. The present Drapers’ Hall itself, located in Throgmorton Street was bought from King Henry VIII in 1543. This had been the home of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex and Chief Minister to Henry, forfeited to the King when Cromwell was executed in 1540.