Thera is a charitable group of companies which supports people with a learning disability to live the life they choose.
Thera was first set up in 1998, and shortly afterwards we started to support 5 people in their own home in Cambridgeshire.
Many people with a learning disability still lived in healthcare settings in the late 1990s and early 2000s. People did not have the choice over where they lived, who they lived with, or what they did each day. We wanted to show that people with a learning disability could be in control of their support.
Many of the people that Thera supports have a diverse range of needs, and some have lived in institutional settings for a long time.
Regardless of how complex a person’s needs may be, we support everyone in a person-centred way so that they can live an equal life.
Today, Thera supports over 3,000 people. As well as supporting people in their own home and in the community, we offer a range of specialist support. This includes helping people to manage their own finances, finding the right place to live, quality checks, building lasting circles of support, and employment support and training. We also have a range of projects and initiatives, such as Gig Buddies with Thera Trust, Safe and Secure, and RESTORE2™ Mini.
Thera’s Vision and Leadership Approach
Thera’s Vision – which still guides the organisation today as it did when it was set up in 1998 – is that people with a learning disability can be leaders in society.
It was felt that to run an organisation that supports people with a learning disability, it was important to have someone with that lived experience as a paid director. Thera employed its first Service Director in 1999.
Thera’s leadership model now includes 12 paid Director posts held by people with a lived experience of learning disability, who work to ensure that Thera remains focused on the needs of the people with a learning disability. Meet our Service Quality Directors!
Development of Thera Group
In 2003, Thera Trust was beginning to feel too big. We wanted to continue to deliver personalised support to people.
Thera Group was set up to help the Thera subsidiary companies be as local and relevant as possible, where the local board and leadership team engages with the communities within which they work.
These local companies would be small enough to keep Thera’s vision at their heart, enabling people to lead and manage their own support.
Most importantly, this would ensure that decisions are taken with people and that the company is controlled by people with a learning disability alongside other groups connected with the company.
The control of each of the local care and support companies is enacted through Company Membership.
The Thera Group of companies continues to support people with a learning disability in new ways, making sure people always have choice and control over their own support.
History of our name
When we were first starting back in 1998, it was clear that people were still being labelled. We wanted to create an organisation that supports people but doesn’t describe what we do, nor label those supported by us.
We were inspired by an old story about the island of Thira, the ancient Greek name for Santorini, where the people lived wonderful lives. After the island of Thera was badly affected by an erupting volcano, the people worked hard to rebuild their lives. This inspired us to always try to help people with a learning disability to build great lives for themselves. The dolphin in our logo is based on a painting that was found on the island, in a building called the West House.
Thera is a name without negative connotations… and those who have been, say it’s a beautiful place to visit!
Everything we do is led by our Vision.