Vitalise began as Winged Fellowship Trust in 1963 after our Founding Trustee, Joan Brander saw people with severe disabilities isolated at home 365 days a year with no opportunity for respite care, and recognised the devastating effects that this was having, not only on them, but on carers and families.
At the outset the charity had three main aims and objectives:
- to provide specially designed, equipped and furnished Centres where physically disabled people could have an enjoyable break
- to provide support through the holidays for carers
- to provide an opportunity for voluntary service on a residential or daily basis for men and women of all ages and backgrounds
Expanding our services
Joan’s energy, determination and passionate vision to ensure that disabled people could have access to the short breaks and respite care they needed helped the charity grow in size, influence and stature to the point that we now provide over 7,000 week-long breaks every year and opportunities for over 5,000 volunteers.
In 2004 we became Vitalise. Our new name and identity is a statement that, whilst building on our historical strengths and successes, we will look to our future, expand our services and position ourselves as the modern, dynamic and visionary charity that we undoubtedly are.
Our name tells people how guests feel after their time with us, how it gives them new energy, and how it enhances their lives. Without their Vitalise short break, many people would not have the opportunity to try new things or change aspects of their lives for the better, whilst carers have renewed optimism, which can improve their quality of caring afterwards.
Into the future
Vitalise was deeply saddened by Joan Brander’s death in May 2004, aged 89. Her vision helped develop our unique social model of accessible short breaks, truly reflecting the essence of freedom and choice that she placed firmly at the centre of her work.
By staying true to Joan’s vision as a family-focused charity, Vitalise’s services – now and in the future – will continue to be people-centred and service-led, encouraging social inclusion and enhancing the choices available to – and valued by – disabled people and carers. We will also work with partners to continually provide appropriate and bespoke services that will ensure we are reflective of a modern, diverse society.