The Fifth Trust is a Kent-based charity that supports adults with learning disabilities from the age of 16.
We provide a day care service for around 160 students at two skills centres in the beautiful Elham Valley near Canterbury, offering a huge range of activities and opportunities.
We take a person-centred approach, which means shaping what we offer and the way we work around each individual. Through creative, educational and practical sessions, and rewarding work in our Vineyard Garden Centre and Vineyard Café and out in the local community, 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, who are encouraged to develop their own skills and experience across the organisation.
How we are run
The majority of our students are funded by Kent County Council and other local authorities and we also welcome students who are funded privately. Because we offer so much, these fees alone are not enough to cover the cost of everything we do, so we attempt to raise additional revenue through fundraising and our social enterprises.
We are grateful to all those who support us by shopping and eating at the Elham Valley Vineyard and making donations. Grant-making trusts and foundations are an essential source of funding, especially for large-scale projects like the £2m redevelopment of our Barham Skills Centre.
The Fifth Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee. It employs a chief executive officer who leads a senior management team and our staff. Trustees are unpaid and do not claim expenses.
Always striving to offer more
We’re confident that we are delivering a high quality service but we continually monitor all that we do and explore opportunities to offer our students even more - whether that is trialling a new session or improving our facilities.
Through our committee structure, we make sure that everyone involved in the Trust has a voice. We continue to build strong links with like-minded organisations and look for more ways to be involved in the local community. This also helps us to expand our team of volunteers, who generously gift us their time.
Download our 2022-2023 Annual Report to read all about what we do to support our students, our plans for the future, our governance and our finances. In 2021, The Fifth Trust created an ambitious five-year strategic plan, providing a framework for the sustainable and successful growth of our service for adults with learning disabilities.
In the 1980s, a small group of families joined together to buy four substantial family properties in East Kent, establishing comfortable, supportive homes for their loved ones with learning disabilities. Their aim was to give residents access to the special facilities and professional care they needed to enable them to be as independent as possible.
The Fifth Trust charity was set up in 1990 to provide educational, vocational and recreational activities for the residents and people with a learning disability living in the local community. The first day centre was built in the grounds of the first home to be acquired, Greenbanks in Barham, and opened in 1991. Five years later a second centre was opened at the Elham Valley Vineyard on the other side of the village. In 2022, following a £2m fundraising campaign, we opened brand new facilities at our Barham Skills Centre.
Across the two sites we now offer 20+ different activities and cater for students aged 16-70+ from across east Kent who live with their families, in residential homes, and in supported living.