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
Google maps view of cathays

1984 – Sharing the CUSS model

In response to the All Wales Strategy, CUSS took a lead role in either directly setting up new services or training and consulting. 

The student volunteers from CUSS traveled around the UK to teach other universities about their approach. They even wrote their university papers and dissertations about CUSS and the charity’s work. They wanted to spread their knowledge and help more people understand and use our model.

1985 – Rolling out the strategy

With support from local councils, CUSS established the Opportunity Housing Trust (later renamed Mirus in 2012). This was a big organization created to spread the CUSS-supported living model throughout Wales.

They gave advice, guidance, employees and trustees to the new charity. It was a way to help even more people across the country benefit from the CUSS model.

1988 – CUSS, Mencap, and Cartrefi Cymru

After many years of rapid expansion, CUSS has several homes in both South and North Wales. However at the time, CUSS felt that an all-Wales body would be more appropriate for rolling out services and it wanted to focus on its existing operations rather than expanding further.

CUSS worked with Mencap Cymru, the Welsh Office, and parents groups to share their operations and, together with new agreements from local authorities, they created Cartrefi Cymru. This new charity would follow the same model as CUSS.

Peter Tyndall talks about his time as the first organiser/director for Cardiff Universities Social Services (CUSS). He shares how the charity started many other charities like Opportunity Housing Trust and Cartrefi Cymru. o share their groundbreaking model and approach to social care. Peter went on to a successful career in the Irish civil service.

1991 – Quest

CUSS started a new agency called Quest to help people find jobs. This was the first of its kind in Wales. Quest became the founding member of the Wales Association of Supported Employment Agencies.

1997 to 1999 – Further expansion

CUSS was approached by the Jane Hodge Foundation and the Bro Morgannwg Hospital Trust in response to the “Challenges and Responses” report, to assistive with the development of an emergency care provision for people with learning disabilities. 

Two purpose built properties were constructed on both Pembroke Road and New Road completed in 1997 and 1999 respectively to provide emergency accommodation to those in crisis.

Quick fact

A Team of Volunteers
112 Employees
54 Supported Living Homes