A RYCH History
Enrych started with one man’s vision. A man before his time, he was determined to create a society where adults with disabilities had the opportunity to pursue leisure and learning opportunities within their local communities. This man was the legendary WW2 pilot Leonard Cheshire who, alongside his wife Sue Ryder, founded Enrych in 1986 – then called Ryder Cheshire Volunteers.
Leonard Cheshire recognised that the medical and practical needs of adults with disabilities were often well catered for by various agencies. However, very little, if anything, was available to enable people to enjoy the quality of life that everyone deserves. In particular, Leonard Cheshire wanted to support people with disabilities to enjoy leisure and learning opportunities of their choice. Our work started initially in Wallingford, South Oxfordshire. As the word spread quickly, requests for support in neighbouring areas began to increase. Over time, more projects were set up and Enrych currently works in Oxfordshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Swindon. Enrych operates as a family of affiliated branches, affiliated to the national organisation, which enables us to reach more people in local areas of England.
Leonard Cheshire’s vision has succeeded him and his work lives on. We are committed to continuing the legacy of our remarkable founder and to support adults with disabilities to live the most active and independent lives possible.
Meet our Patron, Graeme Garden
Author, comedian, actor and presenter Graeme Garden OBE became involved with Enrych in 2010 after photographing the charity’s work for a competition. Graeme took the opportunity to learn more about Enrych’s work and, as a result, kindly agreed to become our patron.
“I am very flattered to have been invited to be the patron of Enrych. My day spent sailing with Enrych on Pitsford Water was a real revelation. It was exciting and inspiring to see members engaged in activities. Most striking is the cheerful can do attitude, the ingenuity and dedication of Enrych’s volunteers, the range of activities Enrych provides and the sheer pleasure on the faces of those you support. It underlines how important it is that no-one, whatever their circumstances, should be denied access to fun! I hope that in some way I may be able to promote this splendid work.”
Meet our Patron, Francesca Martinez
Comedian, writer and actor Francesca Martinez met Enrych after performing at ‘Enrych In Stitches’ a comedy night in aid of Enrych. We are delighted and grateful that Francesca agreed to become our patron too.
She says “I am honoured to become a patron of Enrych, who do such valuable work, especially at a time when the rights of disabled people and carers are so under attack.”
A brief history of Enrych
Enrych has been operating across central England since 1986.
1986 – Oxfordshire. Initially set up by Leonard Cheshire and Sylvia Wear, the organisation was quick to grow its work across the county in its first few years.
1990 – Buckinghamshire. As word spread about our good work, we set up in the Vale of Aylesbury, replicating our success in Oxfordshire.
1990 – Leicestershire With an office base in Leicestershire (Leonard Cheshire’s stately home, Staunton Harold), we began to deliver services across northern Leicestershire.
1991 – Derbyshire News of our Leicestershire project spread across the border to Derbyshire and so we began to deliver services in the south of the county.
1996 – Northamptonshire With successful projects operating across neighbouring Oxfordshire, we responded to growing demand by setting up a project in southern Northamptonshire.
2008 – Warwickshire and Berkshire Enrych’s success and growth continued with the establishment of two new regional branches in Warwickshire and Berkshire.
2011 – New services and new name. As the sector moved towards personalisation, we took the decision to offer additional services to our traditional volunteering model, and with this move decided to rebrand. The new name of Enrych was chosen to explain the impact of our work whilst recognising our founders, Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire.
2012 – Black Country and Swindon and Wiltshire As new opportunities appear, we look to meet the needs of disabled adults in those areas.
2016 – Enrych celebrates its 30th anniversary