History of Creative Support

Creative Support was set up in 1990 and registered in 1991 as an Industrial and Provident Society with charitable status. At that time we were called Manchester Housing Consortium.

The organisation was developed by a dedicated steering group of senior people from Health, Social Services, Housing Associations and the Voluntary Sector who saw the need for an agency that would provide and develop housing and imaginative support services for people with mental health needs living in the City of Manchester.

Our Chief Executive, Anna Lunts, was employed as the first employee in 1990. As a mental health nurse she had been involved in the closure of a long stay psychiatric hospital and the re-provision of services in the community. Anna believed that a not for profit voluntary agency could offer more flexibility, quality and choice to service users than statutory services and set out to develop a range of innovative services in partnership with a wide range of agencies who shared our aspirations.

In our first 5 years we successfully resettled many people who had been living in long stay hospitals into supported housing services; and greatly improved their quality of life. By the mid 1990s we were able to provide a range of services, not only supported housing, and to mark these changes we decided it was time for a fresh new image. We changed our name to Creative Support to show our commitment to developing creative responses to individual support needs.

We continued to build a good reputation for our proactive approach, strong values and our focus on quality. We developed services to work positively with female and black and minority ethnic service users, including a service for Asian women in Bolton and a range of supported housing for African Caribbean men and women in Manchester. We also developed supported housing for people with mental health needs who were at risk of offending. These services were seen as fresh and imaginative as they provided support in ways that best suited the specific needs of these service users.

In 1996 we opened a head office in Manchester city centre to provide a home for our finance and human resources departments and to offer efficient administrative services. As we continue to grow, so to does the Head Office, into which we have added a training department and well equipped training facilities, housing department, purchasing and maintenance services, health and safety, quality assurance, service development and senior management team. We also run a lively cyber café for service users.

Also in 1996, Creative Support received the Investors in People award for our high standards in training and staff development, communication, vision and achievement of our business objectives. We have since been successful in achieving the IIP Silver Award and are currently applying for the Gold Award. In 2002 we were named as an official Assessment Centre for NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) making it possible for us to provide accredited training to all our staff.

As well as our services for people with mental health needs, over the past 13 years we have developed a range of person centred services for people with learning disabilities. We opened our first supported living service in 1997. Our services for people with a learning disability now include supported living and community support, as well as intensive support services for people who challenge services and for those with complex needs. Our first specialist service for people with autistic spectrum disorders opened in 2005. Today, over half of the services we provide are for people with learning disabilities.

Our first day service opened in 1996 and since then we have gained a track record in delivering meaningful activities and stimulating day services which enable personal development.

Since 2005 we have provided extra-care services to meet the needs of older people living in sheltered housing, with the aim of enabling people to retain their skills and independence and to enjoy a good quality of life.

In the last 20 years we have developed many valued approaches to involving service users, their families and carers in developing and improving our services.

Creative Support now provides services throughout the North West, North East, Yorkshire, Humberside, Midlands and South East of England. We have opened a number of local and regional offices to provide greater support to our projects in these areas.

We are registered with the Homes and Communities Agency as a Registered Social Landlord. In August 2013 we became known as a Community Benefit Society with charitable status in line with the new Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.

In October 2013 we merged with the charity SPACE, based in Preston, who provide sensory experiences for children and adults with a range of needs.  In February 2014 we acquired Delos Community Limited which provides services to people with a learning disability and other needs in Northamptonshire.

As at April 2014, Creative Support employed a diverse team of over 5,000 well trained staff in 58 local authorities, providing a wide range of valued services in partnership with service users, families and carers, housing associations and other government and voluntary agencies. We have the management ability, infrastructure and financial strength to take on small and large contracts and to develop creative new services for individuals.

Our continuing mission is to provide reliable, respectful services which enable service users to reach their individual potential and enjoy a high quality of life. We aim to achieve this whilst providing best value to purchasers and using our resources in efficient, creative and flexible ways.