Many people lived in asylums back then. These were like crowded hospitals. Some of the people had a learning disability. Some of them had mental health problems. They were stuck in asylums. Most people could not leave the asylums.This picture shows where people slept.
It was very noisy to live here. There was no privacy and nowhere to keep your stuff safe.
Earlswood asylum was a large building with lots of windows. This picture was taken in the early 1900s.
This is Earlswood Asylum. It was in Redhill, in Surrey.


Grace’s parents were called Henry and Emily. Her dad was a Major in the Army. Her mum was upper class and religious. Around 1861 they moved to Brighton from London. They lived at 12 Norfolk Terrace. They had 12 children. Grace was the eleventh child in their family.

In 1877, Henry became a Guardian of the Poor of the Parish. This meant he helped provide support for the poor. The family helped charity and Church activities.

This is their house today.

This is a photo of Grace Eyre in the 1870s. She was about 10 years old here.


In 1870, the Education Act was passed. This act sent children aged 5-12 to school.

In 1886, the ‘Idiots’ Act was passed. This act said there was a difference between learning disabilities and mental health problems. The Act wanted better care and education for disabled people.

In 1899, the Elementary Education (epileptic and defective children) Act was passed. This Act set up new schools for disabled children. If children lived near these schools, they had to attend.


Brighton High School was new. It had modern ideas about girls’ education. Grace’s parents were forward-thinking. They sent their daughters to school when most wealthy girls were educated at home at the time.

Today the school is called Brighton Girls School. It is on Montpelier Road. This is a picture of it.


Grace wanted disabled people to have more freedom. Lots of people did not agree back then. These people believed in eugenics. Eugenics is the idea that only people with good qualities are allowed to have children. For example, if two parents are smart their children might be smart.

The problem with eugenics is it says some people are better than others. This means other people have their rights taken away. Sadly, this happened to disabled people.


Grace went to Lady Margaret Hall. This was the first women’s college in Oxford. This was rare in the 1880s – lots of people did not want women to study back then. Women couldn’t get a degree until the 1920s.

Grace’s sister Hilda went to Lady Margaret Hall too. Grace and Hilda stayed in touch with their old college. They went to Lady Margaret Hall’s 50th anniversary in 1928.

Can you spot Grace and Hilda in their College photo below?

This photograph shared by the kind permission of the Principal and Fellows of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

Grace is on the left and Hilda is on the right.


She said “institutions should be regarded as the last option of care”.

She wanted people to leave the asylums and live in “bright and healthy surroundings”. She wanted people to feel useful and confident. She wanted them to have “a place in the sun”.

Here is a picture of Grace. This picture was very kindly shared with us by the Hickey family. They are related to Grace’s sister Clementina.


A group was set up. The group was called the national association of welfare for the promoting of welfare for the feeble-minded. This is a long name. We will call them the Victorian welfare group.

Anne Kirby and Ellen Pinsent were members of the Victorian welfare group. They went to some of the Guardianship’s first meetings. This group did not agree with Grace. They wanted disabled people to live away from the rest of society.

Ellen Pinsent, National Association for Promoting the Welfare of the Feeble-Minded

Westminster Gazette – Friday 10 June 1898


The children stayed in Heathfield House. Heathfield House was Grace’s family’s second home. The house was in the countryside. Grace asked her friends to let children stay at their homes.

The children had nice holidays in the countryside. They had a break from the asylums. The children enjoyed visiting the seaside. Some of them had never seen the sea before.

These are some old postcards from the late 1800s.


Lots of people asked Grace if children could leave hospitals for good. Grace and her friends helped find homes for the children to stay. This was called Guardianship back then.

This was the start of Shared Lives. Shared Lives is a scheme where people live in a carer’s home. People still live in Shared Lives homes today.

Click here to find out more!


These ideas were popular. Important people like Winston Churchill agreed with them.

Churchill wanted to stop people with learning disabilities having children. He said it was “a very terrible danger to the race“.

Grace and her friends did not agree. They helped many disabled people to live in the community.


She moved in with her sister Hilda and her brother Henry. Her brother was a Reverend. This means he was involved with the church.

She also had a country home in Waldron, at Old Lane, Foxhunt Green. She and her family had close links to the Heathfield area.


In 1913, The Mental Deficiency Act was passed. This act set up the Board of Control. The Board of Control decided what happened to people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. Groups who helped these people had to register with the Board of Control. This meant Grace had to set up a group.

They sent many people with learning disabilities away from their homes. Some of them went to asylums. Some of them went to colonies. A colony was like a village you could not leave. They could not leave unless the Board of Control said they could. Men and women were separated. This was to stop them having babies. Some colonies were still open in the 1990s.

Other people stayed in the community. They were observed closely. Grace’s charity filled in lots of forms. Here is a form they had to fill in.


We do not use the words they used now. This is because they are hurtful.

The first type was idiot. Now we say severe learning disability.

The second type was imbecile. Now we say moderate learning disability.

The third type was feeble-minded. Now we say mild learning disability.

The fourth type was moral imbecile. This was people who had done crimes. It also meant people who had sex but weren’t married. This shows the act viewed disabled people negatively. This is because they thought people who had done crimes were disabled.


On 10th June 1913, Grace set up a meeting. Her sister Amy was there too. Dr Helen Boyle came to the meeting. She was one of the first UK women doctors.

They helped disabled people to live in the community. Disabled people went to live with families. Disabled people were supported to get jobs. They were given medical support. Regular reports were sent to the Board of Control. They named their group the Guardianship Society.

Miss Kirby was in the Victorian welfare group. She spoke at Grace’s meeting in 1913. She said disabled people living in society was dangerous.

The Guardianship Society began on 1st October, 1913. This was the start of what is now the Grace Eyre Foundation.

You can view or download the full copy of Grace’s notes from the first meeting here.

Grace Eyre Woodhead, Volunteers and Service Users at 4 Richmond Terrace, Brighton (1915)


The day centre was at 4 Richmond Terrace. Their office was there too.

Children and adults did training classes here. The training courses were the first classes not in asylums.

Brighton Council and the Board of Control gave Grace money. This helped Grace run the day centre.

Men and women went to different classes. Men learnt woodwork and leather work. Women learnt knitting, sewing, and cleaning. People also learnt how to weave, make baskets, and paint. Children had their own classes.

Grace said the Day Centre was  “…the means of giving occupation and pleasure to those who otherwise would receive no training.”

This photo shows Grace, staff and service users. They are on the steps of Richmond Terrace. This photo was taken in 1915. Grace is at the back. She is second right.


Some of the men who helped the Guardianship Society went to fight in the war. This made it hard to find carers for people to live with.

Some men with learning disabilities from the Guardianship Society went to fight in the war. We do not know if they survived.

Copied from the Guardianship’s 1915 Annual Report

Grace’s charity looked after children during the war. Some parents were fighting in the war. This meant they could not look after their children. Grace’s charity found homes for the children.

Grace’s charity was given money by the government and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association. The money helped Grace find homes for children.

Also copied from the Guardianship’s Annual Report 1915

Children from the Guardianship helped make supplies for the troops. Here is a ‘War certificate’ from 1917.

The First World War ended on 11th November 1918.

The front page of the Yorkshire Telegraph & Star (Sheffield) from Monday 11th November 1918.


In 1918 they moved again, this time to 82 Grand Parade (this is no longer there). They stayed there for 10 years. A generous donor helped them buy the building.

In 1928 they were working from 2 Old Steine briefly. Then they moved again to 8 Grand Parade. They stayed there until 1937.

2 Old Steine (1928)

8 Grand Parade (1928-1937)


After the war, more people wanted to attend the day centre. This meant the Guardianship Society needed more money.

People helped raise money by selling art. They decided to have a sale. People with learning disabilities sold their art there.

Some of these sales were reported in local newspapers. This clipping describes an art sale. It was held at the YMCA in the Old Steine. They wanted to raise £40 for the day centre and Dungates Farm. £40 back then is the same as £2,300 today.

People with learning disabilities still sell their art at Grace Eyre today. They take part in Brighton’s Open Art House every year.


Dungates Cottage Farm was bought in 1923. It was in Waldron, near Heathfield.

In 1927 they also bought Tubwell Farm in Rotherfield, near Crowborough.

Tubwell Farm, Rotherfield, 1930s

Young men were sent to live and work there. They learned farming and gardening skills. The Society helped the young men find jobs at local farms.

Tubwell Farm, Rotherfield, 1930s


Families and staff had picnics there. Here are some pictures from the 1930s.

A Picnic of residents, family and friends at Dungate Farm, 1938

A Picnic of residents, family and friends at Tubwell Farm, 1935

To find out more about what working on the farm might be like, listen to Gillian’s story.

Muriel Hart remembers going to Tubwell Farm in the early 1930s. She is the daughter of one of the Finance staff at the time.
She said Grace was there. She was a quiet but ‘formidable presence’. Grace stayed in the background. She was a “rather thin lady… always in grey”.

With kind permission of Miss Muriel Hart


Grace argued with the Board of Control. This was a government group in charge of people with learning disabilities. They did not want boys and girls to mix at the day centre.

The Board sent a letter to Grace. It said only ‘decent’, ‘willing and docile’ disabled people should live in the community. They wanted disabled people who drank alcohol, begged or did crimes to be kept away from society.

Grace’s charity did not agree. They worked with the Board of Control to find a solution.

You can read the Board’s letter here, but it uses hurtful words.

People around the world wrote to Grace for advice. People wrote from America, Canada and Australia. Some of them visited Grace. They wanted to know how to support people with learning disabilities in the community.

Charles Mayer wrote to Grace. He ran a hospital in Starcross, near Exeter. He wrote to Grace in October 1925. Grace replied. She told him how the day centre worked. She also told him how they found carers and what carers were paid.

Click here to read the letters Grace and Charles wrote.


Helen and Grace were good friends. They set up a mental health clinic. The clinic was at 82 Grand Parade. The hospital head visited weekly. They helped people with early stages of mental health problems.

Helen was on the Society’s Committee for many years. She started a hospital in Brighton for women with mental health problems.

You can read more about her work here.

Dr Helen Boyle, January 1909 (Library of Congress)


In 1927, the Mental Deficiency (Amendment) Act was passed. It included people who became disabled through an injury or illness. It meant more disabled people had to do what the Board of Control said.

The Wood Report came out in 1929. It said there were too many people with learning disabilities.

In 1929, a new Mental Deficiency Act was passed. This changed things for the Guardianship. They had to report to the local council now. This changed the way the Guardianship Society was funded. They were afraid their grant would be stopped.


The Society talked to local people. They explained the needs of people with learning disabilities. They also wanted to find new volunteers and carers.

Local people complained about people with learning disabilities. They did not want them in Brighton. They called disabled people a “grave menace”.

In 1932, Brighton Council said too many disabled people lived in Brighton. They wanted the Guardianship to only support people from the Brighton area. Grace didn’t give their addresses to the Council. The Council complained to the Board of Control. The Board of Control ignored this complaint.

In October 1934 the Guardianship and the Council met to talk about the problems.  The Guardianship invited Council members to join their committees so they could see how it worked. Things improved after that.


In 1919 there were 3 classes a week at the Guardianship offices in 8 Grand Parade. There were classes for boys, girls and infants.

Classes included sewing, weaving, boot-repairing, drill, singing and simple woodwork.

Brighton Council and the Board of Control in London supported the Training Classes. They gave them funding. The Board of Control said other UK Councils should open Training Centres too.

A second Training Centre opened in St Barnabas Church Hall in Sackville Road, Hove in 1920.
In 1931 new Training Centres opened in Peacehaven and Heathfield. A class was set up in the Mental Hospital in Haywards Heath.

In 1935 the Guardianship moved the Centre in Brighton to Richmond Buildings on Richmond Place. There was space for more people. It was open five days a week. That year, 44 boys, 45 girls and 29 infants went to the Centre.


In 1935, Grace had a heart attack. She moved to Lees nursing home on Dyke Road. Grace died on 5th April, 1936. She was 72 years old.

Grace gave around £10,000 in her will to the Guardianship Society. She wanted her funeral to be “as plain as possible”. The Sussex Daily News wrote about her funeral. The Mayor and Council members went to the funeral. Grace’s loved ones went to the funeral.

Grace was buried at Woodvale Cemetery in Brighton. She was buried with her family.

Councillor Friend-James worked with Grace. He visited Grace shortly before she died. He said
“She was a sweet, gracious lady to the last. Her kindness will long be remembered”.

The Guardianship Society trustees praised “her enthusiasm, her deep sympathy with the afflicted, and her calm determination”.

Here are some of the tributes to Grace. These are from local newspapers.


The Guardianship’s ‘Boarding Out’ scheme grew fast in its first 25 years. Today, this is called Shared Lives. The charity employed local doctors to visit all the families. They made sure everyone was well and happy.

In 1913 the Guardianship mostly worked around Brighton and Heathfield. They started working in Kent, London and Essex.

By 1938, nearly 100 doctors worked for the Guardianship. Some of them lived in Blackpool, Yorkshire and Bristol.

These maps show how much the Boarding Out scheme grew over the years.







The Second World War starts on 1st September 1939. It ends on 2nd September 1945. This affects the Guardianship Society.

When the war started people were afraid of bombs. The Government helped find homes for children out of the cities. This kept children safe from the bombs.

The Guardianship Society was asked to find homes for children with disabilities or other needs. In 1939, they placed 102 children with foster parents. Their names were kept in books like this.

The war had a big impact on the Guardianship. People were worried about being bombed. The Occupation Centres were closed. People had classes at home instead.

Some of the girls knitted blankets and other supplies. They sent these to hospitals and the armed forces. They were given a certificate by the Red Cross to say thank you.

Brighton & Hove Herald, 15th June 1940

Victory in Europe Day was 8th May 1945. The Second World War ended on 2nd September 1945 when Japan surrendered.

THE VE DAY, 8 MAY 1945 (H 41849) Churchill waves to crowds in Whitehall on the day he broadcast to the nation that the war with Germany had been won, 8 May 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205206153

The Brighton Day Centre opened after the war. It reopened in 61 Dyke Road, Brighton next to the Dials Congregation Church. The church isn’t there today.
They also opened new centres in Hastings and Tunbridge Wells.

Copyright – B&H City Council


The Disabled Persons’ Employment Act was passed. It said people should employ disabled people. This meant 3% of people working in big companies should be disabled.

The government offered more training to help people find jobs. Sadly the new law did not help. This is because it was not enforced.

The Education Act was passed. It said children should have free education until they were 15. This law did not include children with learning disabilities.

Some people with learning disabilities were told they could not go to school. This was because some people believed they could not learn.

Other children with disabilities went to special schools. This meant they went to different schools away from other children.


In 1946, Judy Fryd started the National Association of Parents of Backwards Children. She was the parent of a disabled child. Today, this is called MENCAP.

MENCAP started as local groups of parents and family members. They wanted better services for their children.

In 1955, they were renamed ”The National Society for Mentally Handicapped Children”. In 1969, they were renamed MENCAP.

To read more about MENCAP’s work, click here.

In 1950, the UK National Council for Civil Liberties wanted better treatment of disabled people. They were called the NCCL for short.

Their campaign was called 50,000 Outside The Law. They said there were 50,000 people in large asylums. They said it was worse than prison. This is because people did not know if they would ever get out.

This began a movement to change the ‘Mental Deficiency’ Acts passed in 1913 and 1927.

They are called Liberty today.

To read more about Liberty’s work, click here.


The Guardianship owned the two farms since the 1920s. They were called Dungates farm and Tubwell farm. Many young men lived and worked on them. Here is a map of where the farms were.

In July 1948, the NHS started. This is short for the National Health Service. From 1948, the NHS became responsible for the farms. The NHS checked that everyone was properly looked after. People from the NHS went to Guardianship meetings.

The Guardianship continued to manage the farms on a day to day basis. They employed the farm managers. They found people to live there. Young men with learning disabilities continued to go to the farms to learn farming skills.

With kind permission of Muriel Hart.

In 1959, the NHS took over the farms. The Guardianship were no longer involved with the farms. They continued to recruit carers in farming communities.

To find out what living and working on the farm might be like, listen to Gillian’s Story.


In 1950, the Guardianship bought a disused Methodist Church. It was on Old Shoreham Road. They bought it for £6,500.

The new Centre was redecorated and rebuilt. It opened in October. It was named the ‘Grace Eyre Woodhead Memorial’ building.


1950 Grace Eyre Woodhead Dedication Plaque

There was more space for activities in the new building.


In 1951 Alan and Anne Clarke did some research. It was called ‘Mental Deficiency: The Changing Outlook’. The research showed that people with learning disabilities can learn.

In 1952 Tizard and O’Connor did some research. It said asylums should train people for the outside world. They said people with learning disabilities should not be locked away for life.

From 1954 to 1957, The Percy Commission did some research. They wanted to improve disabled people’s support. MENCAP helped them do this.

A group of children with learning disabilities standing next to a bus. This photo was taken in the 1950s. We think they were on an outing.


In June 1953, people celebrated the Queen being crowned. They are outside of the day centre.

The Guardianship had regular Sales of Work to raise money. This poster from 1953 called people with learning disabilities ‘patients’. We do not use this language today.

This photo shows the transport children used to go to the Centre. This photo was taken in 1954.

A group of children with learning disabilities standing next to a bus. This photo was taken in the 1950s. We think they were on an outing.

Here are photos of the classes in the large hall downstairs. This is now the Angel Cafe. It looks very different.


The Mental Health Act was passed in 1959. For the first time the law said that a mental illness is different from a learning disability.

The Mental Health Act said people should leave big asylums and be cared for in the community.

It took a long time to close the asylums and big institutions. Some only closed in the early 2000s.

Here are photos of Caterham Asylum in Surrey, also known as St Lawrence’s Hospital. These were taken in the early 1900s & the early 2000s.

There are people still alive who spent most of their lives in asylums like this. Tommy spent some of his early life at St Lawrence’s. You can watch his story here.


In 1963, the Guardianship celebrated 50 years.

The Guardianship Society were worried about the law changing. This is because they thought there would be fewer people using their services. There were reports in the newspapers about this.

Brighton & Hove Herald, 7th June 1958

Brighton & Hove Gazette, 31st May 1958

Some people said the Guardianship was stuck in the past. The local council were not happy with them. Local families with disabled children were not happy with them either. They wanted the council to support their children. They didn’t want to use the Guardianship Society.

Extract from Evening Argus 6th December 1957


In 1970, the Education Act was passed. It said all children have the right to go to school. This included children with learning disabilities. This meant the Guardianship had to become a school if it wanted to support children. The Guardianship decided they did not want to do this.

Extract from a letter to the Guardianship from the Department of Education and Science, 17th March 1971.

In 1981, a new Education Act was passed. It said children should be educated in mainstream schools as much as possible. This meant more disabled children went to mainstream schools.


In 1971, the government wrote a paper. It was called ‘Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped’. They wrote this paper because of the abuse at Ely Hospital near Cardiff. They wanted care in the community for most people with learning disabilities. They said local councils should help adults with learning disabilities instead of the NHS. They wanted lots of training centres.

In 1972, a report came out. It was called ‘The Principle of Normalisation in Human Services’. The report wanted people with learning disabilities to have paid jobs. They wanted disabled people to be more included. They wanted disabled people to have friends who are not disabled.

In 1989, a paper came out. It was called Caring For People. It helped move people from hospitals into community care.


The Hastings Centre had lots of activities. They had concerts, plays and carnivals. They also sold craft work here. You can watch Nick talk about this here.

In 1979 the Queen Mother visited Hastings. A group from the Centre joined the parade. They decorated this float.


In 1968, The Special Olympics started. The first games were in Chicago, USA.

In 1983, Nicola Marchant won two gold medals in the Special Olympics. She won the 100 metre and 400 metre races. Nicola, Mario and Keith competed in Louisiana, USA.

In 1989, they took a successful team to the Leicester Games. Patrick Coles was in the newspapers. He won lots of medals!


The Guardianship asked a consultant to look at how it worked.  The consultant wrote a report. The report said they needed to change. This was a very bad report. The Guardianship was struggling. They were not supporting people properly.

The Guardianship made changes over the next few years. There was a lot to do. You can read more about the report below.
The report said that:

  • Carers should support people living with them to become more independent.

  • The Training Centres needed better facilities.

  • The Guardianship needed to learn from other organisations. It had not kept up to date with new ideas.

  • The Society needed more trained staff. Staff needed better training.

  • The Guardianship needed more managers. In 1983, only one person managed everything.

  • There was poor communication between the Committee and staff.

  • They also had bad relationships with local councils.


This was the beginning of the self advocacy movement in this country. This movement helped people learn to speak up for their rights. To learn about the work they do today, click here.


Star Cross was the first large asylum to close.

Many people lived in asylums back then. These were like crowded hospitals. Some of the people had a learning disability. Some of them had mental health problems. They were stuck in hospital. Most people could not leave the asylums.

It was good that Star Cross closed. This is because it meant more people with learning disabilities left the hospital.


They changed the name as ‘Guardianship’ was an out of date idea. They chose Grace’s name in her memory.

The anniversary was also marked in the local newspaper by other charities and friends.


In 1995, the Disability Discrimination Act was passed. It said disabled people should be treated equally. This is the first time the law said this.

It introduced Direct Payments. This meant disabled people could manage their care money. Many people used Direct Payments to employ personal assistants. This was good. This is because it meant disabled people had more choice over their care.

This act was passed because many disabled people protested. They wanted more rights. You can read about it here.

In 2001, the SENDA act was passed. It gave disabled people rights in education. This means disabled people can not be left out in education. People can not treat them negatively because of their disability.

In 2005, the Mental Capacity Act was passed. It said people with learning disabilities have the right to make their own decisions if they are able to.

In 2007, the Putting People First Act is passed. It said anyone can choose to have their own budget and buy their own services.


Peter Cutts ran some of the classes. He showed people how to make pottery. These are the teaching materials he made.


In 2001, a paper was written. It was called Valuing People. It was the first ever Government document written with people with learning disabilities. It was produced in an Easy Read format. It wanted people with learning disabilities to have more choice and control. It also wanted better housing, better care and paid work.

In 2002, the government set up a new group. It was called the National Care Standards Commission. They were set up to make sure that people receive good quality care. Later on it became the Care Quality Commission.
Grace Eyre’s Shared Lives scheme is inspected regularly.

You can read more about CQC here.

In 2007, the United Nations decided on a convention. This was about protecting the rights and dignity of disabled people. Lots of countries signed it. The UK signed it in 2009. This means the UK Government must make sure people have these rights.

You can read more about it here.

In 2008, the government published a report. It was called Healthcare for All. This said the NHS needed to improve their care for people with learning disabilities. The goverment set up health checks for people with learning disabilities. The health checks were every year.

In 2001, a paper was written. It was called Valuing People Now. Valuing People Now repeated the ideas in Valuing People. It said things needed to improve soon. This shows that it is still hard for people with learning disabilities sometimes. People have to keep pushing for change.


In 2001, Grace Eyre was given money by the Lottery. They used it to buy a house in Walsingham Road. They turned this house into a day centre. This was a quieter day centre for older people and people with sensory issues. This building was sold in 2019.

In 2009, Grace Eyre started a new service. It is called ‘Choices’. It offers supported living. Choices supports people with learning disabilities to feel confident in their community and to live more freely.

Choices staff help people manage money, learn skills, look after their home and meet new friends. They also help people to understand health and wellbeing.

In 2011, Grace Eyre started a new service. It is called Grace Eyre Housing. This helps people find quality housing that meets their needs.

Grace Eyre Housing supports tenants once they have moved into their new home. They support tenants to develop the skills required to manage their homes.

Becky and Toby, Grace Eyre Housing’s first tenants

In 2015, Shared Lives started in London. Shared Lives is a scheme where people live in a carer’s home. Their office was in Brixton. They started working in Lambeth. They later worked in Kensington, Hammersmith and Fulham.

You can read more about Supported Living, Grace Eyre Housing and Shared Lives here.


In 2003, Grace Eyre took part in Brighton’s Open Art House for the first time. Grace Eyre has taken part every year since. Grace Eyre won Best Open House in 2017. This is a fantastic recognition of the talent of artists with learning disabilities!

In 2013, the Purple Playhouse started. They create and perform plays in Grace Eyre’s theatre. Some of these plays are performed in the Brighton Fringe festival. This also provides bar and front of house work for people with learning disabilities.

In 2013, Grace Eyre won money from Sports England. They used this money for their Sports for All project. The project helped more people with learning disabilities to play more sports.

They ran lots of sessions like badminton, basketball bowling and boccia. They also ran cricket, cycling, dance, football, golf, swimming, table tennis and trampolining sessions!

In 2014, Grace Eyre Friendship started. This is a social group for people with learning disabilities and/or autism. It is a safe environment to meet new people, try new things and become confident.

In 2015, Grace Eyre opened an Art Studio. It is in the Open Market. It is run by people with learning disabilities. People make art here and put on exhibitions. People also learn customer service skills by working in a shop with the public.

In 2016, The Purple Club House was launched. It was started by the Ambassadors and the Purple Club House Committee. This is a club night ran by people with learning disabilities. They are held in the Purple Playhouse.

Grace Eyre, Montefiore Road, Hove. Photography by Paul Demuth, Demuth Photography 2017

In 2017, Grace Eyre took part in Brighton’s Pride parade for the first time.

To find out more about these services, click here.


In 2006, the Travel Buddy Scheme was set up. It helps people to travel more independently. It can be hard for people with learning disabilities to travel on their own.

This project helps people travel on public transport or by walking. They can have the help of a travel buddy. When they are confident, they can travel on their own.

You can watch a film about Travel Buddies here.

If you want to take part in Travel Buddies, you can fill out this form.

Photo by Skye Brackpool/Brighton Togs www.brightontogs.com 01273 275162 / 07973 677017
20150317 Launch of the Grace Eyre’s buddy Scheme, with Brighton and Hove Buses.
The scheme will enable adults with learning disabilities to travel around Brighton and Hove safely on the buses.
‘Catch the bus, Meet friends, Be safe, get to where you want to go’.

In 2011, Grace Eyre ran an event. They wanted to help people learn more about voting in the local elections. Candidates came to answer questions about issues which matter to people. Members from all the main political parties came along.

Grace Eyre asked who wanted to vote. They wrote to their carers. This meant their carers could help them register to vote. Since then Grace Eyre holds an Election Hustings whenever there is an election.

In 2010, Grace Eyre got some money. They used the money to pay an employment support worker. They offer training, work experience, mentoring and employment support. This helps people with learning disabilities and autism find jobs they like.

Click here to read more about employment support.


In 2006, Grace Eyre made their first person-centred charter. The charter is about people living their lives the way they want, getting good support from kind and friendly people.

In 2011, Grace Eyre employed its first Service User Involvement Worker. She set up some groups. People with learning disabilities came to the groups. They talked about what they wanted to happen at Grace Eyre. Groups were held in Hove, Brighton and Worthing.

This helped Grace Eyre become more led by the people they support.


In 2015, Grace Eyre set up a group. This was called service user involvement. This was a group of people with learning disabilities and/or autism. The group was created to help lead and advise Grace Eyre. In 2016, the group changed its name to Our Voices.

Our Voices talk to people about Grace Eyre. They talk to Grace Eyre staff, carers and people who use their services. They also talk to councillors and MPs about lots of issues. They talk about plans, fundraising, campaigns, and community safety. They also train staff, volunteers and new Ambassadors.

You can read more about Our Voices’ work here.

Our Voices wrote a document. It is called Our Charter. Our Charter informs Grace Eyre’s services what people want from their support.

You can read more about Our Charter here.

Ambassador Away Day, November 2019

In 2017, Kirsty and Chris became Grace Eyre trustees. They are the first trustees to have a learning disability.


In 2008, there was a financial crisis. This led to the government cutting lots of funding. This affected lots of councils and charities. This included Grace Eyre.

Disabled people were given less money. In 2013, a report came out. It found that disabled people lost 9 times more money than other people. This was because of cuts the government made.


The new Equality Act aimed to make sure that everyone is treated equally in society. It brung lots of laws together into one act. This made it easier for people to understand. The act protects disabled people from unfair treatment at work.

The Equality Act has better disability equality than the older acts. It said some disabled people need more support to have an equal chance. Giving disabled people more support means they have better access to services.


The BBC’s Panorama programme showed it on television. This meant lots of people heard about it. The government said places like this must close.

People from Grace Eyre protested about this. They said no to abuse. You can read about it here.


The report was called Death By Indifference. It came out in 2012. You can read it here.


Grace Eyre set up a history display. This told people about Grace Eyre Woodhead’s life and work. They ran some sessions. People looked at old photos in the sessions.

They also had an exhibition at the Corn Exchange. This was at People’s Day in June 2013. This was a good way to remind people about Grace Eyre!

People’s Day Leaflet about our Exhibition on 15th June 2013

Jackie Reeve with the People’s Day Exhibition in the Corn Exchange in Brighton, 15th June 2013

Running a session to look at Grace Eyre’s old photographs


People with learning disabilities were given do not resuscitate orders. This meant that if they were very ill with Covid, hospitals would not save their lives. Many people were angry about this. MENCAP spoke against it.

You can read what MENCAP said about it here.

Grace Eyre’s support workers still supported people in the lockdown.

Grace Eyre had to close its day centres in March. Lots of day centre activities went online. They used Zoom to talk to each other. Some people got used to Zoom. Some people found talking online harder.


Carinder wrote to his MP. He helped other people with learning disabilities get their vaccines early. This is because he wrote to his MP.

You can watch a video about this here.