Rescare is a charity, registered with the Charity Commission (Reg. No. 1112766) under the full title of “Rescare: the society for children and adults with learning disabilities and their families”, and with the stated aim “to promote the relief and welfare of children and adults with learning disabilities and their families”.
The society for children and adults with learning disabilities and their families
It is a voluntary organisation with elected honorary officers and an executive committee. It currently has seven trustees, and always welcome new applicants. It is a national organisation, with its head office in Stockport, where it employs a part time Office Administrator/ Welfare Helpline Coordinator. From the office Rescare runs a telephone helpline and provides information, advice and support via its website, newsletters, written correspondence, emails, and phone.
Rescare, through its links to affiliated groups and to its individual and family members, represents hundreds of families and friends within the UK; it also has members living abroad, and particularly affiliations in New Zealand and Australia.
Rescare was formed in 14th November 1984 when the Cranage Hall Parents Relatives and Residents’ Welfare Society Committee agreed to a proposal by its chairman Richard S Jackson that they become the Steering Committee for a new national society to be named ‘The National Society for Mentally Handicapped People in Residential Care’.
Initially, Rescare campaigned for the conversion of redundant ‘mental hospitals’ into residential communities, and ran a number of high profile campaigns. It presented a petition with over 70,000 signatures, about the closure of a hospital in Blackburn, to Parliament through the local MP. It has also organised campaigns about closures of other facilities.
Since its inception Rescare has grown and evolved to be a charity that today represents the views and concerns of the families and carers of persons with a learning disability; and that is concerned generally with the well-being and best interests of persons with a learning disability, including those without a family to speak for them. Rescare continues to support the validity of residential provision, i.e. in villages and intentional communities; but now campaigns more widely for the availability of choice, in housing, health care, care provision, and education.
‘by families for families’
Rescare has always been run ‘by families for families’, and attempted to represent the views and concerns of its members, by making representation to local and central government, campaigning for law change, and contributing to consultations by government and others agencies e.g. the Law Commission. Rescare participated in the consultation processes which led to the White Paper ‘Valuing People’, published in March 2001 and the first White Paper on learning disability for thirty years, which set out a programme of action for improving services based on four key principles: ‘civil rights, independence, choice and inclusion’. Rescare was also consulted during the drafting of the legislation which became the Mental Capacity Act 2005; which has had major implications for persons with learning disabilities and how decisions affecting them should be made.
Rescare continues to campaign for proper provision in terms of social care, health care, education and residential/housing provision. In 2010, the moving force behind the foundation of Rescare, Richard S Jackson MBE retired as Honorary Chairman. Rescare’s continuance as a national charity is however secure, and the charity remains committed to its objectives.