handshakeLearning disability charity Prospects is to join the Livability Group, and within 2 years will become a fully integrated part of the group, it has been announced.

Prospects is a Christian disability charity that has provided support services for people with learning disabilities and their families for the past 40 years. Its work has also mobilised the UK church in responding to the needs of disabled people and supporting them to enjoy a more inclusive community.

Livability’s services include residential care, a school and further education college for disabled students, a brain injury rehabilitation centre and a range of supported and independent living services. They also support churches to engage with their communities through a number of link church partners.

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, the charities believe they have significant areas of strategic alignment.

With Prospects joining Livability, the charities believe they can build capacity, enhance delivery for the people they support, grow disability awareness, mobilise a broader supporter base and maximise their effectiveness and sustainability.

The charities have a staff base of more than 2,000 people, along with some 1,500 volunteers and in excess of 1,000 donors.

Dave Webber, CEO of Livability said: “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 liveable for all we support.”

Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury and Livability’s president, added: “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.”

Mick Ledden, CEO of Prospects said: “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 40 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, added: “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, concluded: “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.”