Saturday 27th June 2020 marks 85 years since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, then HRH Duchess of York, officially opened an employment training college for people with disabilities at Leatherhead Court, which later became QEF.

The college was founded in 1934 by Dame Georgiana Buller and Stanley Evans to provide training for disabled people that opened up employment opportunities in industry rather than just traditional crafts. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother became patron of the charity in 1953 and in 1967 the charity’s name was changed to Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for the Disabled. Read more about QEF’s heritage.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (then HRH The Duchess of York) opening  the training college at Leatherhead Court on 27 June 1935

Since then QEF has changed a lot, but our commitment to enabling disabled people to achieve their potential is as strong today as it was in 1935. Today our services focus on providing expert support for people of all ages; services that can often be life-changing for the people that rely on us.

The Bugzi loan scheme provided by MERU, part of QEF, offers young children the vitally important gift of independent mobility. Bugzi is a mini powered wheelchair that enables disabled children to play with family and friends, explore their environment and interact with the world around them.  Watch children experiencing the freedom of Bugzi for the first time.

QEF Mobility Services provide expert advice and support to enable people to increase their mobility and independence. From learning to drive an adapted car or assessing safety to drive, to assessments for mobility equipment such as Bugzi, scooters and wheelchairs and advice on how to travel by air in comfort.

QEF Neuro Rehabilitation Services provide expert therapy and care to enable people to rebuild their lives and regain core skills after an acquired brain injury, neurological illness, incomplete spinal injury or stroke.  Watch Richard talk about the difference QEF made to his life after his accident.

QEF’s Independent Living Service provides specialist care and support to adults with life-long complex disabilities; enabling each person to develop key life skills and achieve their potential. Watch residents celebrating QEF’s 85th birthday 

QEF’s Future

2020 should have been a very exciting year for QEF, with 85th birthday celebrations and the opening of our new Care and Rehabilitation Centre in Leatherhead. But the coronavirus pandemic changed much of this and QEF has instead had to launch an emergency ‘Survive and Thrive’ appeal. We need to raise £500,000 by the end of September so our expert services can survive the financial impact of this pandemic and disabled people can continue to thrive.

We have lots of fundraising activities taking place for people to get involved with and QEF’s Queen Tea event is one example. Taking place on August 4th, the Queen Mother’s birthday, this virtual summer event includes a cream tea delivered to your home, a Q&A with celebrity guest Prue Leith and a live interview with the BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell. We will also have a performance by the band of the Welsh Guard. It’s a fantastic way to celebrate QEF’s 85th birthday, whilst also raising vital funds to support QEF and the people that rely on us. If you would like to find out more and get involved in this event email us at events@qef.org.uk