The Fifth Trust is a Kent-based charity that supports adults with learning disabilities.
We provide day care services on two sites in the beautiful Elham Valley near Canterbury for over 140 students, one third of whom live locally in residential homes associated with the Trust.
We take a person-centred approach, which means shaping our organisation and the way we work around each individual. Through enjoyable and productive work in the local community and in our Vineyard Garden Centre and Vineyard Café, complemented by a broad range of creative, horticultural and academic activities, our students develop essential life skills and the confidence to make their own choices, both large and small.
This approach applies equally to our staff, and we encourage them to develop their own skills and experience.
How we are run
The majority of our students are funded by Kent County Council and we also welcome students who are funded by other local authorities or privately. Because we offer such an extensive range of activities, student fees alone are not sufficient to fund everything we do. As a self-help charity, we seek to raise additional revenue through our social enterprises. Any surplus generated by the two operations is reinvested to support our work with students.
We also rely on donations and support from the public, companies and other charitable bodies.
The Fifth Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee. It employs a Chief Executive Officer who manages a senior staff team along with instructors. Our Trustees are unpaid and do not claim expenses.
Looking to the future
In 2019 The Trust conducted a fundamental review of its work and future direction.
We’ve looked closely at how well our methods, management systems and training processes help us to meet our goals. We’re confident that we are delivering a high quality service, and this is borne out by expert auditors who visit us on a regular basis. We are not complacent and, with a pro-active ethos throughout our organisation, we are always looking at better ways of monitoring and validating our performance. Appropriate external training for our staff, and learning from our shared experience and expertise, are all vital to our success.
To ensure good governance, we have established a new committee structure and set up a student forum so that everyone involved in the Trust has a voice.
We have also reviewed the role of our Board of Trustees, many of whom have valuable business, professional or personal expertise to contribute, to make sure that our management team is receiving the appropriate level of support and involvement from the Trust.
We are exploring and building stronger links with like-minded organisations, pooling our experience and resources where appropriate, both in our search for quality and for reducing costs through shared services.
We are also constantly looking to broaden our role within our local community. Interaction with local people, places and organisations is key to our person-centred approach. It also helps us to extend our team of volunteers, upon whose generous and caring participation we depend and who we appreciate enormously.