Our history

We have many years’ experience in providing specialist support for people with disabilities and mental health issues.

Our work started in 1937 when Dame Georgiana Buller DBE set up St Loye’s College in Exeter, Devon.

Dame Georgiana’s vision was that support should be available for people with disabilities to develop skills and achieve their potential, overcoming any barriers they faced in society.

Her Majesty The Queen became a patron in 1946, and supporters over the years have included Battle of Britain flying ace Sir Douglas Bader.

Over the decades the college adapted its name and how it supported people – providing residential training, and tuition in areas such as occupational therapy, and technical, catering and office skills.

During its Diamond Jubilee year in 1997, over 16,000 people were estimated to have attended the college.

After changing from a college to a foundation, St Loye’s moved its headquarters to central Exeter in 2008 and continued to provide residential training.

Following changes in government funding in 2015, St Loye’s moved from providing residential-based training to a more diverse range of support.

This included working with Community Care Trust, a local charity with an excellent reputation for providing mental health services since 1989 in south Devon.

In recent years there has been increasing recognition of how issues such as mental health and invisible disabilities like autism spectrum conditions can affect people’s wellbeing and ability to fulfil their potential.

After successfully working together, St Loye’s and Community Care Trust officially joined forces – merging in 2015 and rebranding as Step One in 2017.

Today, together as Step One we provide a range of support to enable people to manage their mental wellbeing and take a positive step forward to achieving their goals.