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Our history


A group of children queueing for the bus

The Rose Road Association began in 1952 when a small group of parents fed up with getting no services or education for their disabled children started to run activities for a small group of young people.

A purpose built day centre opened in 1954 and local community fundraising played a key role in the Association's growth. This included 'penny drops' - collections from the crews of ships using the Port of Southampton including the Queen Mary. Celebrities played their part with stars ranging from the Saints footballers, Emergency Ward 10, Norman Wisdom and even 'Mr. Pastry', Charlie Knott from Speedway was a key champion.

Rose Road days

A party to celebrate Rose Road

We were then Southampton and District Spastics Association - we survived a relocation and devastating fire in 1959 and over the next 10 years the numbers increased to 160. A purpose built Centre (part funded by the Spastics Society now Scope) with a school for 40 children was built in Rose Road, Southampton. We helped young adults move to the Richmond Work Centre in 1966, and supported adults at Merlyn House run by the Spastics Society (now Scope).

At the Rose Road Centre, a Family Help Unit providing short-term respite care for children was opened in 1968 and we started to get a little support from Southampton City Council. We helped to fund and support houses at Maryfield in St. Mary's and at numbers 5 and 7 Rose Road for disabled people to live independently, we also funded holidays on the coast as even 1970s independence was a priority.

Our name changed to The Rose Road Association firstly to reflect the fact that the word "Spastic" was increasingly used as a term of abuse and unacceptable to those with cerebral palsy, and secondly because by the 1980s our service users were from a much wider range of disabilities and there was a huge increase in numbers of children with complex needs.

The Rose Road Appeal and move to the Bradbury Centre

During the 1990s the school and respite service were full and cramped and an appeal was launched in 1996 to raise £5 million to build a new state-of-the-art Centre. This was a huge task and achieved through the efforts of a number of amazing fundraisers including Martin Jay, Paul Murray and Janice Viveash, plus many, many more who helped raise the money needed to fund the building. Construction of the Bradbury Centre in Aldermoor commenced in 2002 marking the fiftieth birthday of Rose Road.

In 2003 a devastating fire took hold of the new building, one week before completion, which delayed the move by 9 months. Despite this setback, staff, supporters and the local Community meant that we could continue services until we moved in Christmas 2003. HRH Earl of Wessex officially opened the Bradbury Centre in January 2004.

The new centre transformed the way that "Rose Road" (yes we kept the name) worked. The residential short breaks was named "The Oaks and Acorns" by the young people, and provided an adult service separate from the children's service. It meant we could continue beyond 18, an age at which many families struggle with the transition. Rosewood School could offer more places in spacious classrooms and therapy rooms, and the magnificent facilities of hydrotherapy pool, soft play, sensory and gardens enhanced everyone's experiences at Rose Road. We started hiring our facilities to external users as well.

During the "Noughties" Rose Road started to expand its services into the community and the home including one to one support, weekend breaks with families, outreach services and after school activity clubs. The government's Aiming High programme in 2008 really helped to fund a big expansion of short breaks. Aiming High also emphasised the importance of information and advice for families and we started providing this through Parent Voice in 2009 across Hampshire.

Transfer of Rosewood School

In 2012, the Association supported a successful application for the school to become Rosewood Free School. It became a stand-alone school which enabled it to expand its pupil numbers and facilities and increase its financial security. "Rose Road" and "Rosewood" still share the same site on the Bradbury Centre and work with many of the same children and families. Rose Road services focus on providing support for families outside of school hours either at Home, in the Community or overnight at the Bradbury Centre. Parent Voice, continues to provide information and advice and we have expanded these services to Portsmouth, Dorset and West Berkshire.

Now: challenging barriers to disability

In 2016 the Rose Road Association provided individual services to nearly 400 service users and their families, helping each one towards an independent satisfying life and challenging the barriers that disabled people face and we are constantly evolving to meet the needs of a future generation.

From the beginning to the current day, our support is often a lifeline for parents and families, as well as offering wonderful opportunities for young people with complex health conditions to meet with friends, relax, achieve goals and enjoy a range of activities and experiences.

The demand for Rose Road services, continues to increase, which is why fundraising is so important and we need your help. Now is the perfect time to get involved, take on a new challenge or experience such as skydive or run, take part in one of our team events or simply bake a cake or have a collection box at work. Every single penny raised will make a difference to a disabled child or family in your local community.

Come and visit us and see the difference that your support can make, meet and speak to the staff and children who make Rose Road such a special place. We look forward to seeing you soon!