Today sees the completion of the merge of two well-known local charities: Fylde Community Link and the Ormerod Home Trust. The new organisation, appropriately named One Fylde, will continue to provide the high quality support and housing for people with learning disabilities which has been offered separately by the two charities for decades. One Fylde becomes a significant local employer, currently employing and training over 400 staff working across the Fylde, Blackpool and Wyre.
Fergus Stokes, interim Chief Executive of One Fylde, commented, ‘The creation of One Fylde ensures a sustainable and positive future for the delivery of high quality person-centred services in this area. It is a privilege for me to have the opportunity to work with the charity’s Board to shape its early progress.’
In 1971 the Ormerod Home Trust was established in St Annes by a group of businessmen, all relatives of children with learning disabilities, who hoped that the young people might benefit from growing up amidst the therapeutic qualities of the seaside. Fylde Community Link, founded in 1985, began life as ‘Ladyeholme’ – a charity started by an ex-Catholic brother, Kevin Beirne, and associates. With the support and cooperation of the North West Regional Health Authority and mortgage lending, Kevin bought a property in St Annes to provide support and accommodation to adults with learning disabilities who were resettled from ‘long-stay mental handicap hospitals’.
In the intervening years, both organisations have grown considerably but have maintained their ethos of enabling vulnerable people to live safe, dignified lives where risk is balanced with opportunity. Both charities have implemented the government’s ‘valuing people’ agenda providing innovative, flexible services, good homes and work training opportunities for people with learning disabilities.
Now, as One Fylde, the two organisations have come together to share their common goal of supporting people to lead a fulfilling life within the mainstream community. Many of the individuals they support take up the work placement opportunities which One Fylde provides within gardening and recycling teams where they are assisted by caring, well-qualified staff who enable them to acquire real work skills. These work teams offer an opportunity to give back to the local community and demonstrate that people with learning disabilities make a valuable contribution to society. Service-users are also supported to volunteer with other local charities, for instance working in charity shops, visiting elderly people and helping with community groups.
One Fyldewill continue to manage services from two locations: Church Road, Lytham and Headroomgate Road, St Annes.
The merger of the two charities will ensure that One Fylde, as a strong and well-equipped provider, has a bright and sustainable future which will benefit the vulnerable individuals it supports. The stability of the organisation will also contribute to the economy of Fylde, Blackpool and Wyre by offering high quality training and secure, rewarding employment for local people.