Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People

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Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People is a charity that works with both children and adults with physical and learning disabilities or acquired brain injuries to help them gain new skills and increase their independence, helping them to achieve their goals for life. Its name is abbreviated to 'QEF'.

QEF operates a brain injury centre in Banstead and a mobility centre in Carshalton, as well as independent living services in Leatherhead in Surrey. It also operates a chain of charity shops in the south east of England.

The president of QEF is Corinna, Lady Hamilton of Dalzell DL. The chairman is Rob Douglas CBE DL.

The charity's chief executive is Karen Deacon.

The QEF family of charities also comprises the partner charities: Medical Engineering Resource Unit (MERU), Voluntary Association for Surrey Disabled (VASD), and Sutton Shopmobility.


HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother had a personal interest in the charity throughout her life, offering encouragement around the original proposals, to formally opening the Cripple’s Training College on 27 June 1935 as Her Royal Highness Duchess of York. As Queen she visited in 1941 and requested that the charity should be renamed Queen Elizabeth’s Training College for the Disabled. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited a total of eight times, each visit being treasured by the trainees, residents, and staff. On 1 January 1967 the College was renamed Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation in order to reflect the range of services the charity offered in addition to the training college.[1]


Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People was founded in 1932 by Dame Georgiana Buller, the Vice Chairman of the Central Council for the Care of Cripples. It opened as a vocational training college in 1934 under the name the Cripples' Training College, taking physically disabled trainees with conditions such as paralysis and tuberculosis. A women's section was set up in 1946.

In 1948 the foundation acquired the Dorincourt Estates in Leatherhead and in 1956 set up Banstead Place Medical Rehabilitation Centre. The College and the facilities at the Dorincourt Estates were amalgamated to become Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for the Disabled in 1967. The college developed a vocational approach to training disabled people and expanded to run workshops in areas such as engineering draughtsmanship and computer programming, as well as a mobility scheme.[2]

Family of Charities[edit]

Between 2011 and 2012 QEF welcomed three small charities to the QEF family of charities. Members of the QEF family of charities work together to provide a wide range of services and opportunities for disabled people to help them achieve their goals for life. MERU designs and builds assistive equipment for children and young people with disabilities and is based in Epsom. Sutton Shopmobility provides mobility equipment hire for people with permanent and temporary mobility issues and is based in Sutton. VASD provides wheelchair accessible holidays and disability products and is based at Leatherhead Court. Each member of the QEF family of charities is separately registered at the charity commission, but they share administrative functions.


  1. ^ Ellis, David and Fowler, James, Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for the Disabled A History 1934-1984. Her Majesty The Queen Mother. p.2.
  2. ^ Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for the Disabled: A History 1934-1984 (Leatherhead: Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People, 1984)

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