OUR PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

We were founded in 1955 by Mrs Phyllis Edwards who formed a group of parents intent on providing better opportunities for their children with physical and learning disabilities.  

The charity was born after Phyllis discovered untapped need, support and common purpose amongst other families in Poole and Bournemouth facing similar challenges.

Diverse Abilities has grown steadily over the last 60 years and we are proud to be able to boast of having supported hundreds of adults and children over the years.

This would not have been possible without the tenacity of Phyllis, her family and everyone that has been involved with Diverse Abilities for the past 60 years.

1955 – 1959

1955

Diverse Abilities was founded as Bournemouth, Poole and District Spastics Society

1956

First centre opens in Bournemouth for two days a week

1959

A centre is constructed in Poole, now Langside School

1960 – 1969

1967

Langside was extended by the Seekers

1967

Land was purchased for Edward House residential care home for adults

1970 – 1979

1972

Construction of Edward House commenced

1974

Edward House opened and a number of adults move in

1974

Society renamed Dorset Spastics Society

1980 – 1989

1989

Bungalow purchased to provide children’s respite

1990 – 1999

1991

Edward House extended further

1994

Barnabas – day opportunities hub for adults opens

1995

Children’s short breaks service moves to 17 Manor Avenue and named Smithers

1997

Society renamed to Dorset Scope

1997

£120,000 lottery grant received to extend Barnabas

2000 – 2009

2000

Barnabas extension opens

2002

Changes in social care take place. Start closure of institutional residential care homes

2003

Residents of Edward House moved into their own homes (Supported Living)

2006

Edward House was sold

2007

Langside awarded specialist school status

2010 – 2019

2010

Name change to Diverse Abilities Plus

2011

Coping with CHAOS and Disability Wessex (Advice Team) merge with Diverse Abilities Plus

2012

Diverse Abilities has 14 bungalows to support more adults in Dorset

2012

Five year lottery bid to develop services for children with disabilities in north and west Dorset

2014

The charity is rebranded to Diverse Abilities to simplify the name and logo

2015

Diverse Abilities celebrates 60 years of making a difference and currently supports over 600 children and adults across its services, plus their families in Dorset

The future

We will be developing the charity further so more children and adults with disabilities in Dorset can be supported.

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