The Story so far.....

A brief history of Realife

Realife developed from our expriences setting up early social enterprises in the 1980's in Cambridge. It quickly became clear that setting up single focus projects in creative arts and organic horticulture are fine if thats what the people you are supporting really want to do.....but what happens when those people want to move on to other things or start their own community projects? 

Follow the time-line below and see how and why we created Realife Trust as a 25 year action reserch project!

1985: Rowan Wood created by Tony Phillips and Peter Durrant as a social enterprise in partnership with Alex Morris and the Rowan Foundation

1986 Prospects Trust at Snakehall Farm created by Tony Phillips, Peter Durrant and the Fretman Family

1989: Fulbourn Enterprise Centre created by Tony Phillips in partnership with Cambridge Regional College

1990-1993: Dept of Health National Development Team Real Jobs Initiatve created by Tony Phillips and Anne O'Brien

1990-2001: Realife Partnership working as specialist social care sector consultants and trainers providing a range of services and courses locally, nationally and in Europe. Original partners : Tony Phillips, Karen Plunkett and Philip Edwards

1990-2009: Founder members and History Teacher (GCSE) at the Christian School (Takeley), a parent led, independent community school and social enterprise

1991-92: DfEE TEED National Development Programme co-ordinator for a consortium development agency project inc. a pilot supported employment agency in Cambridge

1992: Association for Supported Employment created by Tony Phillips, Steve Beyer and Tom Jackson

1992-today: Realife Trust created by Tony Phillips and Ken Mulholland as a 25 year action research project experimenting with person centred planning, co-working with disabled people, advocacy and social enterprise
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1996: Moved into the new offices at Old Monastory, Bishops Stortford

1996-98: Diploma in Supported Employment (Oxford University Delegacy of Local Examinations) module autor and tutor

1996 on: Designers and lead facilitators for the ‘WAVE’ consultation and strategic planning programme: large scale contracts with East Riding Social Services, Oxford Social Services, Wokingham Social Services and Luton Social Services and over 200 other agencies and groups.

1997-2000: Project Managers: ‘Working Out’ National ESF Horizons project with NDT, Scottish Human Services, Values into Action and the Mental Health Foundation on service user leadership for people with a learning disability with a £1.3m budget.

1998-2000: Consultants to Essex County Council: County-wide supported employment service design and implementation project resulting in the ‘Into Employment’ agency - winner of a Community Care award for innovation (1999)

1998 -2000: Delivery Centre for the ‘Diploma in Supported Employment and ‘Certificate in Supported Employment’.

1999-2001: Chair of the Local Action Group (Learning Disabilities) for Uttlesford, West Essex and member of County Chair’s Group for Essex County Council

2000: Consultants: Luton Borough Council - Project management of the Social Services Department’s ‘Best Value; review of services for people with a disability.

2001-2010: Stortford Music Festival: founding committee members with responsibility for events and Bar management for an annual three day festival and new social enterprise
1992-94: National Changeover Forum on Day Services: project

1993-1996: Project Management (Re-provision) in the London Borough of Havering.  Major day service re-provision exercise, setting up 9 new community based projects including four community businesses including Jacksons Cafe and Havering Pottery

1994-95: Consultants to Cheshire County Council: County wide supported employment service design and implementation project.

1995-98: Kings Fund/NDT 'Changing Days' three year development programme design group member and advisers
2001-2003: Project Managers: Essex County Council and Partners Project management of the ‘Welfare to Work Vcounty-wide Joint Investment Plan’

2001-2003: Project manager and lead researcher : QUIP (Quality in Practice) International project on stakeholder quality in supported employment with partners in Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway and Hungary.

2001-on: Greenstage – new community project designing and building environmentally sensitive stage structures and shelters with the National Trust at Hatfield Forest for the Woodfest festival

2004: Purchase of the Old Monastory with support from social enterprise inestment loans and grants
2002-2004 Project Managers: Essex Learning and Skills Council ‘People Skills’

2002-2005 Workskills Essex:new County wide social enterprise as a consortium with 12 voluntary agencies and Essex County Council to deliver a £5 million pounds employment programme over three years

2002 -2005 Lecturers (Havering College): module design and delivery for a new Bsc course in Learning Disabilities and guest tutoring on the DiPSW programme

2003 on Cluzion Music – new social enterprise for live music promotion through the monthly Cluzion Club and a range of related live music events

2003-2006 Founder-Coordinators for the Essex People’s Parliament, an elected assembly of people who have a learning disability across Essex under contract with Essex County Council

2003-2010 Co-ordinators: Inclusion Partnership Ltd. Umbrella social enterprise in the social care and community development sector

2004-2006 Project Managers – Essex Brokerage Pilot. One of six national development sites for self-directed services chosen by the ‘Valuing People’ Support

2004-2008 Frontline Partnership Ltd – new social enterprise in Brentwood

2004 -2010 Essex Inclusive Sports Enterprise CIC – new social enterprise in Chelmsford

2004–on Eastern Region Co-ordinator NBN. Regional co-ordinator for the National Brokerage Network based at the Realife offices

2005 My Broker and Me – new social enterprise

2006-2008 Liberation Partnership CIC : new County wide social enterprise for a p ersonal budgets advisory service

2006-2013 National Brokerage Network CIC, Co-ordinators of the national support brokerage agency

2006-2012 Realife Social Work student unit in partnership with Anglia Ruskin Uniiversity for up to 7 students per year

2007 Major decision to hive off all contract based social enterprises and return to Realife's charitable roots as a user-led development agency specialising in sustainable, small scale project developments

2007-2009 Digs – new social enterprise for social housing for students with a learning disability

2008-2010 Gorsefield – new social enterprise with the Gorsefield study centre

2009-2012 Mencap (Cambridgeshire): new partnership sharing offices in Fulbourn, Cambridge following the sale of the Old Monastory

2009-2016 You Can Hub: new social enterprise including You Can Bike too

2010-on Funky Flamingo Club – new social enterprise relaunching club nights run by and for disabled people

2010 on Caritas – social work student annual placement host and guest lecturers with the specialist Czech social work college

2012-2016 Ubuntu Club – new community project on world music with Menelik Education

2012-2015 Plough and Fleece Community Pub: new social enterprise.

2012-on Reception Direct: new community project for office based training with Cambridge City Council

2013-2018 Best Buddies UK – new national social enterpriseincluding Best Buddies Cambridge (now renamed as Funky Friends)

2013-2017 UK Pie Party – new community social enterprise

2013-on Libra Theatre: project management for the independent theatre company for people with a learning disability

2013 on Green Gathering Festival – new partnership with Realife's Greenstage project

2014 Winterbourne: review for Herts County Council

2014-2016 Lose the Label – new national social enterprise

2015-2018 Strummers Club: new social enterprise for music with a social conscience

2015-on NHS England Care and Treatment Reviews for people in secure hospitals

2015-17 Acting Now: joint project with Libra Theatre and Acting Now

2015 on Disability Cambridgeshire: new partnership and shared offices

2017-18 A Bit of Everything – new community project in Harlow for young adults with ASD

2016-18 Cambridge Acorn: partnership with the specialist agency working on behalf of children and young people dealing with emotional trauma

2015-2017 The Virtual Academy – new partnership with Visit Ltd focusing on e- learning

2017-2019 We are in this Together – Erasmus/ESF funded self-advocacy project with partners in the Czech Republic, Austria, Spain and Croatia
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Orwell House, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0PP
Registered Charity No. 1088751