It was vital 65 years ago when two mothers, Peggy Freeman and Margaret Brock, founded Sense to deliver support to families and children with deafblindness.
And it is vital today, establishing ourselves as the leading charity for disabled people with complex needs, and their families, in the UK.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which created unprecedented challenges for society, has been acute for disabled people and their families.
The pandemic crisis exacerbated existing barriers disabled people face and exposed new issues.
Throughout, I have been proud of the passion and commitment of Sense staff to meet the changing needs of the children, adults and families we support, embracing new ways of working and developing new services.
We know, however, as the country takes its cautious first steps out of lockdown, that many people with complex disabilities, including those who are deafblind, still miss out on the vital support that they need.
That’s why we’re launching our refreshed five-year strategy (2021 to 2026), setting out how we plan to reach more people than ever before. Our plans attempt to embrace the passion and commitment of our staff and take the best of what we have learnt over the past year as we look ahead to a better future.
We believe that no one, no matter how complex their disabilities, should be left out, isolated, or unable to fulfil their potential. We want to ensure that more people get the support they need and can live life to the full.
Four outcomes of our new strategy
To achieve this, our work over the next five years will prioritise four strategic outcomes:
- We will work to ensure the best possible start for children and families.
This will include extending our reach to support 30,000 children and families over a five-year period, developing new programmes and scaling up online provision.
- We will do more to support adults to live and learn at every stage of their lives.
This will include growing our housing, day opportunities, colleges and community-based services, so children, young people and adults can access support at our sites or in their local communities.
- We will strive to reduce loneliness and isolation.
This will include generating new social connections for more than 30,000 people over a five-year period, including 5,000 through our buddy service, which connects disabled and non-disabled volunteers, and over 1,000 siblings, many of whom are young carers.
- We will give people a voice which would otherwise be unheard and change our wider society by inspiring more people to take-action in support of our cause.
This will include increasing our number of supporters to over 250,000, creating more operational roles for our volunteers, and opening more retail spaces, generating greater awareness and connections with local communities.
Join our mission to make sure no one is left out of life
Our strategy is a call to action to everyone who shares our vision, that no one, no matter how complex their disabilities, should be isolated, left out, or unable to fulfil their potential.
Everyone connected to Sense, be it our staff, volunteers or supporters, and of course, the families and individuals we support, are urged to come together in pursuit of our shared aim.
Now is the moment to make a difference.