Heritage Volunteer at The Grace-Eyre Foundation

The Grace Eyre Foundation takes its name from Grace Eyre Wood-head, who founded the organisation in 1898. The work of the organisation started by placing children with learning disabilities from London slums in holiday homes in East Sussex. Once agreed that children could be placed permanently within families, there evolved the need for regulated placements and supervision by visiting officers. In line with government legislation of the day, the ‘Guardianship Society’ was formed in 1913.

One year later, a day center, offering industrial training was opened in Brighton, probably the first of its kind in the country.

In 1950 the ‘Guardianship Society’ moved to its present premises in Hove and in 1988 the ‘Guardianship Society’ changed its name to The Grace Eyre Foundation.

In present day, Grace Eyre is now a dynamic, person centered service offering a diverse range of services and is a strong focused organisation.

What does the opportunity involve doing?

Sharing Our Voices is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We will be creating an oral history of people with learning disabilities who have lived in Shared Lives arrangements from the 1950s to now. Shared Lives is a UK-wide scheme where people with learning disabilities live within a carer's home. We will also research and create a digital archive of Grace Eyre Woodward’s life and work. Grace pioneered this model of care in the early 20th century – this had a big impact on the lives of people with learning disabilities; many were restricted to institutions and kept away from wider society at the time.
A really exciting aspect of the project is that 24 people with learning disabilities and 8 local volunteers will be fully integrated in the project: they will be learning key heritage skills, utilising local archives, and recording oral history.

What induction, training and support is offered?

This is a fantastic opportunity to:
- Engage people with learning disabilities in learning history skills
- Help preserve the history of people with learning disabilities
- Help out on a Heritage Lottery funded oral history project
- Learn more about Brighton’s rich learning disability history – we have photos and documents from as early as the 1880s!
There are many ways you can get involved from supporting these heritage sessions, to researching Grace Eyre’s history, to writing pieces for our website. The aim of the project is for people with learning disabilities to be involved in the process as much as possible.

The volunteering would mostly be on Thursdays, with some scope to volunteer on Wednesdays and Fridays.

What skills or qualities are needed?

- An interest in history and the rights of people with learning disabilities
- Enthusiasm and a willingness to get involved
- Previous experience working with people with learning disabilities is not necessary but very welcome

More info

Seven Dials

Deadline for applications

16 Mar 2020


Community and social centres Disabled people Young people


Other activities Volunteering as part of a team

Disabled access?


Expenses paid?


Childcare available?


Contact name

Emily Farmer

Email address