About this project
The Legacy of Longfields Association: Celebrating the History and Impact of a Pioneering Disability Charity
Dr Rebecca Clifford, an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Classics at Swansea University, is the Principal Investigator on a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) project – worth £58,200. The project will examine and share the heritage of Longfields Association, highlighting the efforts of the founder members and will explain its impact on the lives of people who were part of the Association.
The organisation was set up in 1952 by parents of children with cerebral palsy who campaigned for their children to have an education. This led to the first school in Wales of this kind being opened in April 1953. Initially based in Uplands, the school then moved to new premises in West Cross in 1955. Originally it was called Swansea and District Spastic Association, though the name was later changed to Longfields, after the house in which the charity was based. Longfields later provided job opportunities to some of its former pupils with the establishment of the Work-Centre in 1962 and then the Occupational Therapy Unit which opened in December 1967. In later years it became a day centre which closed in 2011.
The project will also assess the wider significance of Longfields, which played an important role in the social history of Swansea and the wider disability movement. It developed innovative approaches in providing services for disabled people, against a backdrop of changing social attitudes towards disability.
Teresa Hillier the Project Manager (pictured left), formerly worked at Longfields and is now carrying out key research for the project.
Memories of local people who had any connection to Longfields along with individuals who were part of Longfields will be central to the research. Creative and artistic sessions with local school children and attendees of Longfields will further examine impressions and approaches to disabled people. Materials and memories gathered will be translated into an interactive exhibit to celebrate the legacy of Longfields Association and an online archive will be created by the community.