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
Diverse Abilities was founded as Bournemouth, Poole and District Spastics Society
First centre opens in Bournemouth for two days a week
A centre is constructed in Poole, now Langside School
1960 – 1969
Langside was extended by the Seekers
Land was purchased for Edward House residential care home for adults
1970 – 1979
Construction of Edward House commenced
Edward House opened and a number of adults move in
Society renamed Dorset Spastics Society
1980 – 1989
Bungalow purchased to provide children’s respite
1990 – 1999
Edward House extended further
Barnabas – day opportunities hub for adults opens
Children’s short breaks service moves to 17 Manor Avenue and named Smithers
Society renamed to Dorset Scope
£120,000 lottery grant received to extend Barnabas
Barnabas extension opens
Changes in social care take place. Start closure of institutional residential care homes
Residents of Edward House moved into their own homes (Supported Living)
Edward House was sold
Langside awarded specialist school status
Name change to Diverse Abilities Plus
Diverse Abilities has 14 bungalows to support more adults in Dorset
Five year lottery bid to develop services for children with disabilities in north and west Dorset
The charity is rebranded to Diverse Abilities to simplify the name and logo
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
We will be developing the charity further so more children and adults with disabilities in Dorset can be supported.