Seashell’s Chair of the Board of Directors, Gwen Carr, is to retire after completing her full term of 12 years within the Trust and will be replaced by Dr Robina Shah MBE JP DL.
The charity is dedicated to providing a creative, happy and secure environment for children and young people with complex and severe learning disabilities which include little or no language abilities. Established in 1823 as a school for deaf children, based in rented accomodation in Salford, 8 girls and 6 boys were given places funded entirely by public subscriptions. As demand for places increased a need for a purpose built school was needed and in 1837 on the date of Queen Victoria ascended to the thrown it opened in Old Trafford. The Queen was later to bestow Royal Patronage on the school during her Diamond Jubilee and the school became The Royal Schools for the Deaf.
A post Second World War move to Cheadle Hulme saw the students move into new accommodation. At the same time increasing numbers of deaf children with additional needs, whose needs could not be met elsewhere, joined the school.
As local authorities began including deaf children in mainstream provision a special unit was opened in 1972 for students with more complex needs and by 1979 a decision was made that the school would specialise only in those pupils with additional and complex needs. 52-week provision began in earnest in 1986, and the school’s specialist Deafblind or Multi-Sensory Unit was opened in 1990.
Griffin Lodge, the charity’s first residential home for autistic young deaf adults, was built in 1998. Shortly after, the Special Educational Needs and disability Act of 2001 led to the rapid growth in the number of students being referred to the college on campus.
By 2005 such were the numbers being refeerred to the college that the building was completely refurbished in 2007 and a new wing was completed in 2008 the year which the charity was reconstituted as The Seashell Trust.
During the last 10 years the Trust has seen a huge amount of investment and change, led by The Chair and Robina is looking forward to further strengthen the legacy that Gwen and her colleagues have made.
A link to the press release is here