About us

Our work empowers thousands of people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities to communicate, experience the world and fulfil their potential.

What makes Sense different

We put disabled people and their loved ones at the heart of everything we do. We have almost seventy years of expertise in providing personalised support for people of all ages — from early life to adulthood.

We offer residential care, virtual support, and we have a network of centres in communities across the country. We also provide lifelong opportunities for disabled people to be creative and active through holidays, arts, sports, and wellbeing programmes. 

What we mean by complex disabilities

People with complex disabilities tend to have two or more disabilities and experience unique barriers in daily life. This can make it harder to develop new skills, communicate and live independently.

Our years of experience and expertise mean we understand that no two people’s needs are the same. We know how important it is to find the right approach for each disabled person and their family.

We follow the social model of disability. This means that disability is created by barriers in society.

What we mean by deafblindness

Deafblindness is a disability in its own right. It means you have sight and hearing loss that affects your everyday life. Access to information, communicating and getting about on your own can be much more difficult.

Being deafblind doesn’t necessarily mean you are totally deaf and/or totally blind. Most people who are deafblind have some sight and some hearing. Even with mild sight and hearing loss, you’ll still experience challenges.

What we stand for

While our work is rooted in our role providing services we also champion the rights of disabled people. 

From lobbying the government and fighting for better policy, to speaking out on behalf of those who’ve experienced prejudice – we use our voice to build a better, more inclusive society. We’re campaigning for a world where no one is left out of life.

Sense’s work is crucial in helping people live the lives they want each and every day. Too many people with complex disabilities face a battle to find the right support. We’re here to help people who face communication barriers in a world that relies on being able to see and hear well to be connected.

Richard Kramer, Sense’s CEO

Around the UK

We have 20 centres and colleges in communities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Sense Scotland operates a further three.

Around the world 

Through our sister charity, Sense International, we’re active in eight countries around the world. 

Whether it’s for vaccine distribution, access to education, or advocacy, the Sense International team has a wealth of experience in achieving our mission by forging local partnerships where they’re needed most.

A woman holds a smiling boy

“Meeting the team at Sense International Kenya was the turning point for the family. They gave us a new hope and purpose for our baby.”

Tabby, mother of Sospeter, who was born deaf and with complex medical needs

Learn more

You can find out more about Sense, The National Deafblind and Rubella Association (registered charity number 289868) at the Charity Commission’s Register of Charities.

Or, if you’re looking for support, explore our services