Since being first established by Nick Baxter in 1980, Cornerstone has grown from being a charity that primarily served the North East of Scotland to becoming one of the largest care providers in the country. The charity has supported tens of thousands of people over the last 40 years including adults, children and young people with a variety of needs such as learning disabilities, physical disabilities, autism, Asperger’s and those in need of elderly care.

Interim Chief Executive of Cornerstone, Hazel Brown, explains “The pioneering work of Cornerstone has been fundamental in changing the face of the care sector over the last 40 years. Our founder Nick Baxter was at the forefront of providing a solution to the then hospital closure programme, believing that people with learning disabilities, should not simply be able to live, but thrive, within their local communities. Guided by that vision, we continue to strive to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, has the opportunity to play an active part in their own community.

“By adopting and promoting a person-centred, creative approach to care we have replaced traditional, institutional establishments with amazing homes such as Cornerstone’s Baxter View in West Dunbartonshire and The Waterfront in Argyll and Bute. We are able to support people in their own homes and communities by offering a wide range of vital services that have been developed in response local, identified need and demand. It is this unique offering that is allowing us to transform lives”.

During 2018 – 2019, Cornerstone worked with 19 health and social care partnerships across Scotland, and 117 residential services to deliver high quality care and support. With a focus on increasing social inclusion and reducing loneliness as well as improving health, independence and wellbeing, Cornerstone teams work closely with the people they support to set goals and ensure the high quality care and support they need to live a meaningful and valued life is available to them - where they need it, when they need it. This could mean anything from the provision of specialist Cornerstone residential accommodation on a full-time basis for people with more complex needs, to just a few hours befriending a week to help an individual build confidence and make friends. It could be after school care for children with disabilities or day care support for older people with dementia or one of the many Cornerstone services available across the country like Cornerstone Connects, Shared Lives, Supported Living or Growing Together.

The Cornerstone Tardis Coffee Box is a newly opened social enterprise within the Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire branch of the charity. The Coffee Box Tardis sells tea and coffee to the people of Glasgow, with all profits going towards providing a quality service for the people Cornerstone support. It is typical of the pioneering approach adopted by Cornerstone, which has seen the charity often lead the way in the social care sector - responding creatively to need and demand. The Cornerstone Coffee Box also aims to raise awareness of the conditions, disabilities and challenges that many of the people Cornerstone support face and will provide them with valuable experiences and learning opportunities.

Cornerstone will be hosting many exciting events for people to get involved with during 2020. Many branches across Scotland will throw a birthday party on Friday 22nd May, during Scottish Learning Disability Week. Here, local communities and the people Cornerstone support will have the opportunity to get involved in marking the significant anniversary, discuss future hopes and aspirations, and raise vital funds that will continue to help transform lives across Scotland for years to come.

Hazel Brown concludes: “Looking to the next 40 years, we will ensure that Cornerstone remains at the forefront of the social care revolution: influencing government, holding decision-makers to account, and making sure our voice, and the voices of those we care for, are heard. Through working together with the people we support, our key partners, stakeholders and fundraisers we must rise to the considerable care sector challenges that lie ahead and meet them head on. We will continue to work hard to find creative and innovative solutions that will help transform lives and deliver exceptional care to the many people we support in communities across Scotland”.

You can keep up to date with what’s happening at a Cornerstone service near you by checking out our Facebook page.