Founded in 1973 with just one service in West Sussex, we now support around 2,000 people, work in over 300 locations across England and Wales and employ more than 3,500 staff.

As well as providing support, we run campaigns on the latest social care issues, organise fundraising schemes and events, and provide guidance and information via our website, as well as through various publications. Take a look, below, at some of our highlights to date.

26-year President of United Response Martyn Lewis was knighted in 2016 for his exceptional service to the voluntary sector     

January 2016 - Our President receives a knighthood

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26-year president of United Response, Martyn Lewis CBE, is knighted in recognition of his exceptional service to a range of charitable and voluntary organisations. In typical style, Martyn took the opportunity to dedicate his award to the “thousands of inspirational people in the voluntary sector”.

The cover of the first edition of United Magazine, our dedicated publication for supporters of United Response     

December 2015 - Launch of our new magazine for supporters

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In time for the new year, we produce the first ever issue of United Magazine, the perfect way for people to keep up to date with upcoming events, our work and the huge difference their money is making to the people we support with disabilities and mental health needs.

Dignity and Light poetry exhibition     

October 2015 - We host Dignity and Light poetry exhibition

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In collaboration with poet Rogan Wolf, we launch two collections of poetry written with, by and about people with learning disabilities and mental health needs at a creative event in Bristol. 

Our Labour fringe event was packed     

October 2015 - Two successful events at party conferences

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We hold two well-attended fringe events at the Labour and Conservative party conferences where experts, MPs and people with learning disabilities came together to discuss making work a reality for more people with a learning disability and/or autism. 

Communication Resource - successful strategies for effective communication with people with complex needs and learning disabilities     

September 2015 - Launch of our Communication Resource

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At United Response, we believe that taking the time to learn how people with disabilities communicate in different situations is key to being able to deliver effective person centred support. This guide, produced in collaboration with The Tizard Centre's Dr Jill Bradshaw, contains successful strategies for clearer communication and explains reasons why certain messages could be easily misunderstood.

Tim Cooper, Chief Executive of United Response 

July 2015 - We appoint Tim Cooper as our new CEO

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Tim Cooper joins us as chief executive of United Response, bringing with him a wealth of experience in supporting people with learning disabilities, including particular expertise in supported employment and housing management.

The Every Vote Counts logo 

May 2015 - Every Vote Counts campaign succeeds!

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We are thrilled because our Every Vote Counts campaign achieves its two key aims. It results in 10% more people with learning disabilities voting in the General Election 2015 and all key political parties produce accessible versions of their manifestos.

All 5 key political parties endorse Every Vote Counts 

May 2015 - All main political parties endorse Every Vote Counts

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David Cameron (Conservatives), Ed Miliband (Labour), Nigel Farage (UKIP), Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) and Natalie Bennett (Greens) all send our news correspondent David Allkins personal messages of support, and publicly back the Every Vote Counts campaign.

New trustees   

March 2015 - Four new trustees appointed to board

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United Response welcomes (clockwise from top left) Bronagh Scott, Charles Garthwaite, Helen England and David Willis to the board of trustees.

David Allkins interviews an MP as news correspondent 

Feb 2015 - News correspondent with learning disabilities starts

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We appoint David Allkins, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and communication difficulties, to raise awareness among politicians about the need to communicate accessibly with those, like himself, who are part of the disabled electorate.

Jermaine and Ian, two people we support, talk about why accessible political information is so important at our Every Vote Counts launch 2015

2014 - Every Vote Counts is re-launched

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At a well-attended Parliamentary reception in the House of Commons, we kicked off our revamped campaign to get more people with disabilities to the voting booth ahead of the General Election 2015. This time, Every Vote Counts aimed to get all political parties producing accessible information and, to lead the way, we produced a set of easy read resources explaining voting and politics.

Postcards from the Edges wins Best Use of the Web at the Charity Times Awards 2014

2014 - Double success at Charity Times Awards

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We are thrilled because United Response is Highly Commended in the 'Charity of the Year' category at the 2014 Charity Times Awards, while our Postcards from the Edges project scoops the gong for ‘Best Use of the Web’.

Promoting person-centred support DVD resource     

2014 - We launch a DVD promoting person-centred support

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We launch a DVD entitled ‘Promoting Person Centred Support and Positive Outcomes for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ in collaboration with the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent.

Easy News wins a Charity Award for Education and Training in 2014 

2014 - Easy News wins a Charity Award

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Easy News, the first ever news magazine for people with learning disabilities, wins the top prize in the Education and Training category at the 2014 Charity Awards.

Transforming Care publications 

2014 - We launch our Transforming Care publications

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We launch a new set of free-of-charge resources called Transforming Care. They aim to help make the move from long-stay institutions to community settings more successful for people with learning disabilities and autism.

First Special Edition of Easy News

2014 - First Easy News Special Edition

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We publish our first Special Edition of Easy News, which explains the Budget announced mid-March 2014 in easy read format.

Su Sayer CBE left United Response in 2014 

2014 - Su Sayer steps down as CEO

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After 40 years of leading United Response, founding the charity and steering it from modest beginnings into a multi-award-winning top-100 charity, Su Sayer CBE decides the time is right to step down from her chief executive role.

We host a pop-up exhibition of postcards decorated by people with disabilities at the House of Commons 

2014 - Postcards from the Edges at the House of Commons

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We host a pop-up Postcards from the Edges exhibition at the House of Commons to mark the passing of the all-important Care Bill.

Changes to Welfare and Benefits 2013 - in easy read

2013 - We publish an easy read guide to welfare changes

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People we support produced a guide to some of the most significant changes to the welfare system in easy read, entitled 'Changes to Welfare Benefits', which was disseminated to schools, services and online. 

This report focuses on the 2 extreme views commonly held about disabled people, that they are superhumans or benefits scroungers, and discusses how these are unhelpful   

2013 - We publish the 'Superhumans or Scroungers?' report

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The third report by our Campaigns panel, entitled ‘Superhumans or Scroungers’, is published. It focuses on drawing a line under the extreme views that are held by many, which give very little space for ordinary disabled people to make their voices heard.

Some postcards created by people with a disability 

2013 - We begin our Postcards from the Edges campaign

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The Postcards from the Edges project and website is launched, asking people with disabilities to put what disability means to them on a postcard. Four exhibitions of the resulting postcards follow later in the year in London, Gateshead, Bristol and Liverpool.

A picture of the first ever edition of Easy News, which covered the horsemeat scandal

2013 - We produce the UK's first easy read newspaper

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We launch Easy News – the first newspaper designed to be accessible for people with learning disabilities.

United Response CEO Su Sayer is awarded an OBE in 2000 

2013 - Our CEO Su Sayer is awarded an OBE

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Chief executive Su Sayer is awarded a CBE for her services to people with disabilities in the UK.

Cupcakes from our Seaford services 4tea party 

2013 - United Response's 40-year anniversary!

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Services throughout England and Wales celebrate our 40th by holding 4tea parties, a national swimathon and much more!

The new United Response logo and strapline, which reads  

2012 - We rebrand!

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We launch our new logo and strapline in time for our 40th anniversary year.

Our Campaigns Panel, made up of people with learning disabilities and their families, published two reports in 2012 

2012 - We publish the 'Our Future' and 'Life Support' reports

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Our Campaigns Panel compile two reports. 'Life Support' explores what good support means to people with learning disabilities and why it is crucial that any reforms to social care lead to better quality support. In the follow-up report, 'Our Future', people with learning disabilities give their opinion on the Government’s plans for social care and discuss how their lives will be affected by the proposals.

Cover of the Responsible Reform report

2012 - We publish the 'Responsible Reform' report in easy read

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We produce the easy read translation of the 'Responsible Reform' report for the Broken of Britain, explaining changes to Disability Living Allowance.

Some of the people on our Campaigns Panel 

2011 - We set up our Campaigns Panel

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The Campaigns Panel are a group of people with learning disabilities and their relatives who want to speak out on issues that matter to them. They produce reports and inform our campaigning work.

Disability, sickness and work - a discussion with Ed Miliband - easy read version 

2011 - We translate an Ed Miliband interview into easy read

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We produce an easy read version of a discussion between disability activist Kaliya Franklin and Labour leader Ed Miliband, which took place at the 2011 Labour Conference.

A group photo of all our South East Quality Checkers 

2010 - We introduce Quality Checkers

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We set up a system of internal Quality Checkers. Quality Checkers are people we support who are paid to audit the quality of support given to other people supported by United Response.

People we support with learning disabilities and politicians met and discussed politics thanks to our Every Vote Counts campaign 

2010 - Every Vote Counts campaign launches

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Every Vote Counts is launched – a campaign to engage people with learning disabilities in the democratic process.

Making Democracy Accessible logo 

2009 - We create our Making Democracy Accessible guides

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We launch a set of guides, entitled Making Democracy Accessible, to help politicians, party workers and public officials communicate more effectively with the thousands of people with learning disabilities who are not using their vote.

Investors in Diversity logo

2009 - We are accredited by Investors in Diversity

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We achieve the first of our Investors in Diversity accreditations, and are one of the first third sector organisations to do so.

Making Money Easier logo 

2008 - Making Money Easier launches

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We launch Making Money Easier – a set of free easy read guides on all aspects of banking and finance to help people with learning disabilities live more independently.

Charity Times Awards 2007 logo 

2007 - United Response is in top six charity employers

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The Charity Times names United Response among the six top charities in the UK.

We start helping people with learning disabilities find housing 

2007 - We open our housing department

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United Response establishes its first housing department, helped people with disabilities find suitable supported accommodation.

Su Sayer wins a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Charity Awards 2004 

2004 - Our CEO Su Sayer wins a Lifetime Achievement award

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CEO Su Sayer is honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award at the Charity Awards 2004.

United Response CEO Su Sayer is awarded an OBE in 2000 

2000 - Our CEO Su Sayer is awarded an OBE

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CEO Su Sayer is awarded an OBE for her services to disabled people.

Charity Awards 2000 logo     

2000 - We win a Charity Award

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United Response wins in the Disability category of the Charity Awards 2000.

UR in Business logo 

1999 - We launch UR in Business

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We launch UR in Business, a social enterprise that began as a cleaning business employing people we support in London and went on to equip many more with employability skills.

Jim Mansell who pioneered United Response 

1997 - We begin person centred support

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We begin implementing person centred active support under the guidance of Professor Jim Mansell (pictured), who joined the Board of Trustees in 1995.

A woman supporting a man with mental health needs 

1990 - We begin our mental health work

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We begin working with people with mental health needs in Kent.

CEO Su Sayer wins our first award for health and safety in 1987 

1987 - Our first award win

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Our CEO, Su Sayer (pictured), wins a National Health and Safety (RoSPA) Award for the way United Response enables disabled people to engage in activities otherwise denied to them.

Google Map of Chesterfield 

1983 - We open our first service in the north of England

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We expand from the south and set up a service in Chesterfield, our first service in the north of England.

Google Map showing where West Sussex is

1979 - We are West Sussex's biggest learning disability provider

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We establish support in Petworth and Crawley, and go on to expand our provision across West Sussex.

Google Map showing where Tillington is in West Sussex

5th September 1973 - We open our first service

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Our first home is set up and registered in Tillington, West Sussex, by our CEO and founder Su Sayer. It provides people with disabilities with an alternative to institutionalised care.