The first cheshire home was established in the UK in 1948 by Leonard Cheshire VC. Cheshire Homes in South Africa is affiliated to Leonard Cheshire International in London. There are now more than 500 service centres in 57 countries around the world. Ann Harding Cheshire Home in Northwold is one of 16 service centres in South Africa, and one of three in Gauteng.
Cheshire Homes Charter
Our Mission is to assist people with disabilities throughout the world, regardless of their colour, race or creed, by providing the conditions necessary for their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
We believe that each person, whatever his or her disability, is a uniquely valuable individual and that people with disabilities should have the personal freedom to pursue their aspirations and take their own place in the world. Our aim is to offer to those with disabilities.
- Unquestioning recognition of their full human rights.
- Standards of excellence in all aspects of care from both staff and volunteers.
- The support of a forward-looking and responsive organization, aware of their needs and of those of their carers.
- The opportunity to take an effective part at every level in running our services.
- Partnership in a continuing endeavour to help others, whatever the need may be, in the field of disability.
Cheshire Homes Objectives
To work in partnership with people with disabilities to provide residential accommodation and services that promote independent living and the pursuit of personal aspirations.
Also, to initiate projects that address social and economic inequalities, thereby alleviating poverty and facilitating the social integration of people with disabilities into mainstream society.
Cheshire Homes South Africa Structure
Cheshire Homes is a bottom up organization. Residents, staff and volunteers serve on Home Management Committees. From there, Branches are formed by members of the Home Management Committee. Together, their representative creates the National Council of Cheshire Homes South Africa.
- National Chairman
- National VIce Chairmen (2)
- Special Members (maximum 4)
- Branch Representatives (6)
- Representative of each Home (16)
Each Branch, Home and Residents’ Committee comprises:
- Vice Chairman
- National Director
Leonard Cheshire, from whom the organization’s name derives, was a bomber pilot in World War 11.
After his war experiences, Leonard Cheshire felt a strong need to validate his life, and was drawn to the idea of service to others.
Although this desire was constantly on his mind during the following years, it was only in 1948 that it started to take concrete form – and then by chance. Leonard heard of a fellow service man, terminally ill, who was in dire straits, with no family, no means, and nowhere to go.
Leonard took him in and cared for Arthur until his death. From such a small and unplanned beginning was the world wide Cheshire organization to grow. Today there are Cheshire organizations and Homes all over the world.
Cheshire Homes started in South Africa in 1965. A visitor from the United Kingdom, holidaying in Durban, realized that there was a desperate need for a service for disabled people in this country. She made contact with community leaders, committees were set up, and Cheshire Homes South Africa took its first tentative steps.
The first Home, Queensburgh, was opened in 1968. Today, there are six Branches and sixteen Homes in this country, providing residential accommodation to severely and permanently disabled adults and children.
In addition, many outreach programmed provide services such as day care, respite care, community base care, soup, kitchens, crèche type care. These outreach programs operate from established Cheshire Homes.
There are also a number of independent living units attached to Cheshire Homes, where those residents who are sufficiently confident can live as independently as possible, secure in the knowledge that expert care is within call.
Cheshire Homes continues to grow, and hope in the future to offer more wide ranging services in response to the needs of people with disabilities.