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 training and employment support should be available for disabled people to achieve their potential and overcome the 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.

In 1989 Community Care Trust was formed to provide residential mental health services in south Devon.

The charity gained an excellent reputation as it expanded and evolved its services over the years to meet local needs. This included successfully working with St Loye’s which led to a merger in 2015.

Today, united as Step One, we continue to support people to fulfil their potential in the community and society.