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Our history

In the garden at Frocester Manor in the 60s

Since Hft was established in 1962, some things have changed significantly, while others – like our desire to support learning disabled people to live your best life possible – have stayed the same. In the 1960s, there were limited opportunities available for learning disabled people when they reached adulthood. So, in 1962 a group of visionary parents who had learning disabled children and who wanted to ensure a better life for them, set up Hft.

To ensure their children would continue to learn and develop and fulfil their potential after leaving school, these parents joined together to purchase Frocester Manor in Gloucestershire, creating a home in which learning disabled people could be supported to take control of their own lives. From this small beginning, Hft has grown to support more than 2,000 learning disabled people and your families.

In 1982, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, honoured Hft by accepting an invitation to become our Royal Patron. Since then, HRH has made many visits to our services, conferences and fundraising events, helping to promote the charity and champion the rights of the people we support.

As well as small, person-centred residential care homes, we now support more and more learning disabled adults to live independently in your homes within the community through our supported living services. We also provide support for you to take part in activities, to make friends and to get the experience that will help you find paid employment.

Hft is also a market leader in the provision of what we call ‘personalised technology’ – using assistive technology to support people with learning disabilities to achieve greater independence in their lives.

In May 2013, Hft merged with Self Unlimited, a charity that was also set up in the 1960s to provide support for learning disabled people. Self Unlimited’s similar values and philosophy meant a merger between the two charities made sense, as the combined charity benefited from the wealth of experience and knowledge of both organisations.

And in 2017, we took on our first service in Wales, where we’re delivering day and work opportunities for learning disabled people in the Flintshire area.

Since its launch, Hft has gone from strength to strength, and now supports more than 2,200 learning disabled adults across England and Wales to live your best lives possible.

So although things have changed since the 1960s, what hasn’t changed is our desire to provide the specialist care and support that helps you to live with as much independence, choice, dignity and control as possible. Looking to the future, we’re increasingly using the skills and experience of our staff to help people with the most complex, challenging needs.

Find out what we’ve been doing more recently.

What does Hft stand for?

We were originally called Home Farm Trust, but our name was later abbreviated to Hft, a bit like Associated Dairies becoming ASDA or Marks and Spencer becoming M&S.