First student homes opened in £25m Transforming Lives project

Norman and Sheila Stoller official declare the new Seashell Trust homes open watched by Seashell Trust CEO Mark Geraghty and Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Warren Smith

Seashell Trust has opened nine new homes for its disabled students funded by its multi-million pound Transforming Lives appeal.

The homes for 68 students are the first phase of the £25m project at its Cheadle Hulme campus.

Mark Geraghty, CEO and Principal of Seashell Trust, said: “This represents the most significant investment in the charity’s campus since we moved here in the 50s. It has only been possible because of the outstanding support received from a number of key donors.”

The trust has named the new homes after these donors: Zochonis Charitable Trust, the Bradbury Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Oglesby Charitable Trust, the Bramhall Educational Trust perpetuating the work of Hillcrest School, and PZ Cussons.

Morris House is named in recognition of Seashell Trust's former honorary patron, Lord Morris of Manchester. He was the first Minister for Disabled People in the world. His ground-breaking Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act remains a central tenet of England’s disability legislature.

Michael Oglesby CBE DL, of the Oglesby Charitable Trust, said: “A visit to the Seashell Trust is a deep emotional experience the like of which one does not get from any other charity, and the work undertaken is truly inspiring. The new houses that have been built for the young people are of outstanding design and quality as befits young people with some of the most challenging needs in our community.”

A second phase is already under construction. Eight more houses, funded by Stoller Charitable Trust, ACT Foundation, and the Mason family from Morson International, will open early 2016.

Mr Geraghty added: “We are hoping to appoint architects imminently, to design a state-of-the-art Royal School Manchester on the site of our old residential accommodation There will be new community sports facilities to promote inclusive sporting and leisure opportunities for disabled young people across the region.

“We are continuing to transform the lives of some extraordinary young people. We can achieve even more and enable young people to live fulfilling and rewarding lives thus becoming valued and valuable members of society.”

Students will begin transitioning into their new homes from July.

Warren Smith, the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, and representative of the The Queen, the charity's patron, attended a celebration lunch at PZ Cusson House along with Seashell presidents; Lord Garfield Davies; Lord John Lee; and Christopher Lees-Jones, donors and supporters.