About Us

The late, Lord Leonard Cheshire's vision was always that Cheshire Homes be run along the lines of a normal family home.  



A society for all where persons with disabilities have equal opportunities, free of discrimination and prejudices.




To provide support services for persons with disabilities in a manner that empowers service users and enhances their quality of life.



  • Residential care for 57 profoundly disabled persons who may not have the financial means or the self-ability for self-care.

  • High standards of professional care and support for people with disabilities through a committed staff.

  • The promotion and provision of assisted independent living opportunity.

  • Provision of an inclusive education day care and development centre, “Khaya Cheshire”, for disabled children.

  • Promotion and empowerment of self-representation, self-development and self-reliance for persons with disabilities.

  • Provision of experiential training opportunity for University and College students who are studying for careers such as nurses, care givers, biokineticists, and social workers.

  • To negotiate employment support opportunities with major employers for persons with disability.

  • Provision of a day care centre for disabled adults.

  • Continuous role as agents for social marketing and advocacy in support of disabled persons.

  • Effective, accountable and competent management and administration structures.

  • The development and building of partnerships, to so harness the energy and resources of government, donors and volunteers in support of our vision and mission.


Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire was born on 7 September 1917.

His childhood and youth were lived at the family home of Greywalls near Oxford with his parents Geoffrey and Primrose and his younger brother Christopher. Following in his father's footsteps to study law at Oxford University, he was commissioned into the reserve of the RAF as a student. So started what was to become a legendary war career.

He served almost without interruption in Bomber Command, flying a record of one hundred bombing missions. He was the most highly decorated bomber pilot of the Second World War and received the accolade of the Victoria Cross. At one stage, he dropped a rank to take command of the famous 617 Squadron, the Dambusters.

Back as a civilian, he set up a community for ex-servicemen and women at his home Le Court in Hampshire. The scheme did not prosper but, at the beginning of 1948 and now living alone at Le Court, he agreed to look after one of the community members who was dying of cancer and had nowhere else to go. Cheshire found others coming to him for help, and so started the work which today is carried on in his name with disabled people across the globe.

On 5 April 1959 Leonard Cheshire married Sue Ryder, whose own international charitable work was well established. Home for them and their two children was in the Suffolk village of Cavendish, though both spent a large part of the year visiting their humanitarian projects worldwide. Leonard Cheshire's award of the Order of Merit was announced on 5 February 1981 and his elevation to the peerage on 15 June 1991.

Leonard Cheshire died from the effects of motor neurone disease on 31 July 1992.

International Organization

The first Cheshire Home was established in the UK in 1948 by Leonard Cheshire VC. Cheshire Homes in South Africa is affiliated to Leonard Cheshire International in London.
There are now more than 500 service centres in 57 countries around the world. Cheshire Home Summerstrand (opened in 1975) is one of 16 service centres in South Africa, and one of three in the Eastern Cape.

Leonard Cheshire, from whom the organization’s name derives, was a bomber pilot in World War 11. After his war experiences, Leonard Cheshire felt a strong need to validate his life, and was drawn to the idea of service to others.
Although this desire was constantly on his mind during the following years, it was only in 1948 that it started to take concrete form – and then by chance. Leonard heard of a fellow service man, terminally ill, who was in dire straits, with no family, no means, and nowhere to go.
Leonard took him in and cared for Arthur until his death. From such a small and unplanned beginning was the world-wide Cheshire organization to grow. Today there are Cheshire organizations and Homes all over the world.

Cheshire Homes started in South Africa in 1965. A visitor from the United Kingdom, holidaying in Durban, realized that there was a desperate need for a service for disabled people in this country. She made contact with community leaders, committees were set up, and Cheshire Homes South Africa took its first tentative steps.

The first Home, Queensburgh, was opened in 1968. Today, there are six Branches and sixteen Homes in this country, providing residential accommodation to severely and permanently disabled adults and children.
In addition, many outreaches programmed provide services such as daycare, respite care, community-based care, soup, kitchens, the type care. These outreach programs operate from established Cheshire Homes.
There are also a number of independent living units attached to Cheshire Homes, where those residents who are sufficiently confident can live as independently as possible, secure in the knowledge that expert care is within call.

Cheshire Homes continue to grow and hope in the future to offer more wide-ranging services in response to the needs of people with disabilities.


As an NGO we realize and respect the need for networking and partnerships. We have numerous such partnerships that involve both financial support and gifts in kind.