2 people side by side on a dancefloor enthusiastically dancing and playing air guitar

Our story

While we do not know the exact founding date of Innovate Trust, we do know that our incredible journey began in the early academic year of 1967. Every year, on July 13th, we celebrate our birthday.  On this day in 1974, we established the first supported living home in the UK, forever changing the way Learning Disabled people receive care and support.

In 2017, to mark our 50-year anniversary, thanks to funding from Heritage Lottery Fund, Kieran Vass and Georgia Oliver, with support from colleagues and the people we support, researched documents, filmed stories and established permanent records with local archives and museums to preserve our important history for future generations.

2 people side by side on a dancefloor enthusiastically dancing and playing air guitar

1975 – Further development

After the success of the first group home, we relocated to a more stable home at Kings Road in Cardiff.

For the next nine years, our volunteers worked hard to raise awareness about our support model of living.  They worked closely with local authorities, hospitals, and universities, sharing important information and lessons.

Their goal was to encourage others in the community to adopt similar support approaches, making a positive impact on more lives.

1975 – Expansion

CUSS went on to open more group homes funded by the Welsh Office.

These homes were ran by volunteers and paid support workers. Part of our work at this time included producing reports, evaluations and recommendations for the Welsh Office and Cardiff Council, providing valuable information and guidance based on lived experience.

Google maps view of Cathays

1977 – Short term care in the community

CUSS had many requests from people in Cardiff to help parents and carers of people with Learning Disabilities who lived at home. Our goal was to support everyone to have their independence, not just those who lived in forced hospitalisation. 

They made the first Respite home at 2 Boverton Street in Roath. The home was loaned to CUSS by a Cardiff University lecturer who was working abroad at the time. 

The trial was a big success, and many people in Cardiff needed on this service. CUSS bought a new home on Hamilton Street with a loan from South Glamorgan County Council. The property became our permanent base for our new respite services.

Quick fact

A Team of Volunteers
3 Employees
2 Supported Living Homes

1981 – Local Authorities adopts the CUSS approach

In response to the work of CUSS and the student volunteers, the social services department at Cardiff County Council set up a new department called NIMROD. Its purpose was to copy and expand the way CUSS helped adults with Learning Disabilities. This meant more people could get the support they needed.

1983 – All Wales strategy

After the Ely Hospital Scandal, the Welsh Office took action and introduced the ‘All Wales Strategy’ to improve services for people with Learning Disabilities.

This new legislation cited CUSS as an example of best practices that others should emulate when developing new services for people with disabilities. 

Because of this, many long-stay institutions started to close down, first in Wales and then in other parts of the UK. It was an important step in improving the lives of people with Learning Disabilities.