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Livability announce exciting new chapter in our charity’s story

Livability is committed to widening service delivery, growing impact and building engagement with our cause. We are pleased to announce that on 11th May 2016, national charity Prospects will be joining the Livability Group in an important new chapter in our charities’ stories. Initially joining the Livability group structure, Prospects will be a fully integrated part of Livability within 2 years.

Prospects are a Christian disability charity that have provided a range of services to support people with learning disabilities and their families over the last forty years. Their work has also mobilised the UK church in responding to the needs of disabled people and supporting them to enjoy a more inclusive community.

In recent months, the charities have been exploring opportunities for joint delivery, growth and quality. Motivated by a shared, dynamic and broad Christian ethos and with a clear commitment to social inclusion, our charities have significant areas of strategic alignment.

Major providers of disability services

Both both charities are major providers of disability services, partnering with churches and other local agencies in the delivery of care throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Livability provides a range of disability services including residential care/nursing; brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation; education for children and young people with special educational needs and supported living. Prospects supports people with learning disabilities and their families.

The charities have a staff base of over 2000, over 1500 volunteers and 1000s of donors and partners all committed to helping improve the lives of disabled and disadvantaged people.

Putting the people we support at the heart of all we do

Placing the lives of the people we support at the heart of all we do, the charities will combine strengths and expertise to deliver a broader portfolio of commissioned care, church and community work around England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

With Prospects joining Livability, we can build capacity, enhance delivery for the people we support; grow disability awareness; mobilise a broader supporter base and maximise our effectiveness and sustainability.

Working with the church as a partner for change

Both charities have mobilised the UK church to recognise the contributions and needs of disabled people, to build towards inclusive and accessible communities

Livability created ‘Churches Inc’ a disability and accessibility Charter for churches. They deliver training on shaping Dementia Friendly churches. More recently, they have raised understanding for mental health issues within the church through their partnerships with Mind and Soul and Greenbelt – the national arts and faith festival.

Prospects deliver training to equip churches to offer accessible worship and bible teaching and partner over 400 churches to run 220 church-based ministry groups. Prospects have developed the ‘Ability Sunday’ campaign to help churches recognise the gifts people with learning disabilities bring to the church. They have also partnered with Alpha to create an accessible version of the Alpha course for people with learning disabilities.

Key spokespeople have said:

Dave Webber, CEO of Livability: ‘As Christian charities, Livability and Prospects have a strong track record in practically living our faith through disability care, church and community work. Prospects joining Livability is a wonderful opportunity for impact and change. It’s certainly not news that disabled people in the UK are too often at the brunt of cuts to public services and shrinking budgets. They often face increasing social exclusion, health limitations and poorer life opportunities. Charities like ours must mobilise local people, resources and strengths to take the lead and work together for lasting, positive change across our neighbourhoods. With our service users, we must explore together what will make our communities livable for all we support.’

Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Livability’s President: ‘I am delighted to see Prospects joining the Livability family to share their resources, experience and passion. Both charities do extraordinary work, empowering those with disabilities to play a full part in the body of Christ and to bless the church and wider community with their gifts. I look forward expectantly to see what new possibilities emerge from this exciting partnership. Please join me in prayerfully supporting this next chapter in the journey.’

Caroline Armitage, Chair of Livability: ‘I warmly welcome all staff, volunteers, service users and supporters from Prospects to the Livability family as together we continue to outwork our mission. We value our shared founding stories and look forward with excitement to the future.’

Mick Ledden, CEO of Prospects: ‘Prospects was founded as “Christian Concern for the Mentally Handicapped” at a time when disabled people were often locked away in institutions, out of society. Over the past forty years, with the support of local churches and the communities in which they live, we have been instrumental in establishing a range of quality services for people with learning disabilities and their families. We have provided ministry training and resources to enable churches to become more accessible, building a UK-wide network of church based support groups.

Delivering the best possible service and experience for the people we support is top priority for our charities. With such an alignment of ethos and strategic focus, joining our operations and expertise with Livability will enable us to enhance sustain and deepen our work. We are really excited to be extending our impact by joining the Livability Group.’

David C Potter, Founder of Prospects: ‘From the very first ‘seed’ idea Madeleine and I could never have envisaged that through Prospects so many hundreds of people with learning disabilities would be supported, so many thousands would learn of God’s love, so many churches across the UK would welcome people so long overlooked. What God has done!

After 40 years, God is taking Prospects into a new era of partnership where its strengths can fortify a sister organisation and in turn receive strengthening for the ongoing well-being of people it supports. And now, as in 1976, we cannot know how great are the possibilities in God’s purposes.’

David Bentley, Chair of Prospects: ‘Prospects has always been an organisation with a clear vision and mission. Over the last few years we’ve tackled some difficult questions about our future and I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve now found a new home within the Livability group. Livability shares all that’s important to us and I know together we will ensure our Christian ethos continues to shape everything we do for the good of our community and service uses. As always, God’s timing in bringing this partnership to fruition has been perfect.’

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