Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Home Celebrates 50 Years of Care

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Home Celebrates 50 Years of Care

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Thompson Reporter

ASPECIAL home inspired by the plight of one disabled boy is today celebrating 50 years of pioneering care.

Chipchase House. opened in 1964 to support, and home, those with disabilities from across the region. Stephen Darke, the schoolboy who inspired the creation of the facility, is now a 72-year-old man still living there.

It was in 1964 that a group of young adults and teenagers with cerebral palsy arrived to make the property, in Benton, Newcastle, their new home.

The home later became the Percy Hedley Foundation, which now helps over 1,000 families every year.

From humble beginnings, the charity now works with more than 700 staff and has a turnover of more than PS19m.

It was Stephen's parents Molly and Stephen Darke, supported by small group of other like-minded parents of disabled children, who fought to create the Percy Hedley School.

It was a time when very little provision was made for young people with disabilities and, worried about their children's education and future, the parents helped to create what is the Foundation today.

Last year the Percy Hedley School celebrated its 60th anniversary.

But when the original school opened, and the years went by, Stephen and his friends grew older - and their parents more frail.

It soon became apparent a place was needed to care for the teenagers and young adults and Chipchase House was bought across the road from the school.

Work to extend the home and build a workshop in the extensive grounds was completed in 1964 and the offi-cial opening, by patron the Duke of Northumberland, took place in 1965.

Later additions of apartments and bungalows make up what is today Chipchase House, home to 51 disabled adults aged between 20 and 74. Many of the original residents met yesterday to mark the anniversary.

Stephen said: "It has been a nice place to live for the past 50 years. …

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