Leonard Cheshire Disability

Leonard Cheshire is a major health and welfare charity working in the United Kingdom and running development projects around the world. It was founded in 1948 by Royal Air Force officer Leonard Cheshire.

The mission of the charity is to encourage and move disabled individuals toward independent living, with the freedom to live life their way. The charity supports disabled people through local care services including residential homes, supported living, domiciliary support, day services, activity centres, respite care, transition services, and employment and skills support. It also runs political campaigns on issues affecting disabled people.

In 2013–14 it had income of over £162 million, placing it in the top 40 of UK charities.[1] Around 90% of this income came from government grants, and around £18 million in donations (2013/14).[2]


The charity was originally known as The Cheshire Foundation Homes for the Sick, and in 1976 became the Leonard Cheshire Foundation. In 2007 it rebranded to Leonard Cheshire Disability[3] and in 2018 its brand and logotype were simplified to Leonard Cheshire.[4][5]

Cheshire started the charity in 1948 with a residential home for disabled ex-servicemen at Le Court, a large country house near Liss in Hampshire. By 1955 there were six Cheshire homes in Britain. The first overseas Cheshire Home was established in Mumbai, India, in 1956.[6] By 1992 there were 270 homes in 49 countries.[7]

Each of these "Cheshire Homes", as they came to be called, were similarly set up: local communities came forward, assembled a group of volunteers, found whatever suitable accommodation they could, set up administrative committees and began raising funds for development. This gave each Cheshire Home a local structure closely knit to the community they were serving, while being affiliated with an international organization.

The homes and services in the UK and Isle of Man are run by the UK charity. Over 200 other Cheshire homes and organisations around the world exist, run independently but affiliated to a Leonard Cheshire Global Alliance.[8]


The UK charity is headquartered in London and its main stated objectives are "to provide effective and efficient community-based services to disabled people that respond to their preferences" and to "campaign in partnership with disabled people, allies and supporters for a society that provides equality to disabled people."[9]


Leonard Cheshire provides support to disabled people through a variety of services including care at home, residential care and training and skills programmes. It describes itself as "the UK's leading voluntary sector provider of support services for disabled people". Its goal is to change attitudes to disability and to serve disabled people around the world.[10]

The charity's activities are particularly focused on guiding and encouraging the disabled to move toward independence and live life their way. It formerly ran the Ability International Media Awards, recognising disabled people in the media.[11]

The Ryder-Cheshire Mission[12] was set up by Leonard Cheshire and his wife Sue Ryder at the time of their marriage in 1959, and later became the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation which operated until 2010.[13] Other related former charities include Target Tuberculosis, operating in India and certain countries of Africa (2003–2016).[14]

The rehabilitation of disabled people was supported through Ryder-Cheshire Volunteers, founded in 1986, which is now the Enrych charity.[15][16]

The Leonard Cheshire Disability & Inclusive Development Centre is a joint project by Leonard Cheshire Disability and University College London (originally set up in 1997 as the Leonard Cheshire Centre of Conflict Recovery).[17] The Centre is dedicated to generating applied research on disability in development, with particular emphasis on poverty and economic development in terms of livelihoods, inclusive education and public health. Centre staff also work closely on policy issues at a global level, serving in an advisory capacity to a number of UN agencies (including UNDESA, UNICEF, ILO, World Bank) and bilateral organisations (including DFID, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia)). The Centre is based in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London.

Cheshire founded the Raphael Pilgrimage to support sick and disabled people to travel to Lourdes.[18]

Sue Ryder Care, a charity founded in 1953 by Sue Ryder, before she met Leonard Cheshire, was one of the 50 largest charities in the UK in 2008.[19]

Notable people

See also


  1. "Top 10 charities by income". Charity Commission. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  2. "Too many of our 'charities' are nothing of the sort". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  3. "UK's leading disability charity unveils new name". Leonard Cheshire Disability. 17 July 2007. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011.
  4. "Introducing our new brand". Leonard Cheshire. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  5. "Leonard Cheshire Disability". Baxter and Bailey. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  6. Chennai news
  7. Christopher Foxley-Norris, "Cheshire, (Geoffrey) Leonard, Baron Cheshire (1917–1992)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2008 accessed 18 July 2008
  8. "Global Alliance - Leonard Cheshire Disability". Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  9. "Charity Commission for England and Wales: Charity Number 218186". Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  10. "Homepage". Leonard Cheshire. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  11. http://www.lcdisability.org/?lid=14883 2010 Ability Media International Awards
  12. Charity Commission. The Ryder-Cheshire Mission, registered charity no. 235988.
  13. Charity Commission. The Ryder-Cheshire Foundation, registered charity no. 285746.
  14. Charity Commission. Target Tuberculosis, registered charity no. 1098752.
  15. Charity Commission. Enrych, registered charity no. 1088623.
  16. "About Enrych". Enrych. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  17. Leonard Cheshire Disability & Inclusive Development Centre
  18. Charity Commission. The Raphael Pilgrimage, registered charity no. 1098328.
  19. Ranked by expenditure. Source: Charities Direct: Top 500 Charities - Expenditure Archived 2008-12-02 at the Wayback Machine
  20. 'Dutton, Maj.-Gen. Bryan Hawkins (born 1 March 1943)' in Who's Who (London A. & C. Black)

Further reading

  • Morris, Richard. Cheshire: The Biography of Leonard Cheshire, VC, OM. London: Viking Press, 2000. ISBN 0-670-86735-7.
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