Our history

For over 60 years, Sense has developed an unrivalled depth of knowledge, skill and expertise to help people overcome the barriers to communication.

Our journey began more than 60 years ago

It began with a conversation between mums.

Mums who discovered they had a lot in common, having contracted rubella while pregnant and, as a result, given birth to babies who were deafblind.

Few people understood or could give the support they needed to help their children to communicate, learn and develop.

They felt isolated – and worried that their children would be isolated and unable to enjoy meaningful, fulfilled lives.

Two mums decided to act. Peggy Freeman and Margaret Brock reached out and formed connections with other families in similar situations.

Sense was born and the families began to break down the barriers that stopped their children being able to communicate and experience the world.

Together, the families learned to use and connect all the senses, so that their children could make sense of their world and the world around. They discovered that there are many more different ways of communicating and connecting than people realise.

Together, Peggy and Margaret laid the foundations of what makes Sense the organisation it is today.

Supporting a broad range of people

Over the years, Sense developed an unrivalled depth of knowledge, skill and expertise to unlock the barriers to communication.

Sense began, and continues, to support people who are deafblind. Over the years it became apparent that our expertise, which stems from this specialism in deafblindness, would benefit many more people.

Today, we support people living with a broad range of complex disabilities.

Sense today

Sense has gone from an organisation with assets of two pounds and five shillings in 1955 (£48 today) to one that has an annual turnover of more than £60 million.

We have experienced many landmark moments.

We have campaigned to change laws and government policies. We have developed personalised and flexible services for children, adults and older people that meet their wishes and needs. And we continue to support families and carers through expert information and advice.

But the vision of our founding families, of people coming together, communicating and taking part in life, remains the same.

The connection made between two mums back in 1955 is repeated across Sense everyday.

Together, we remain rooted in communicating, supporting and campaigning. Because we believe that no one, no matter how complex their disabilities, should be isolated, left out, or unable to fulfil their potential.

Landmark years and achievements

Take a look at the major landmarks and achievements that have shaped our journey.