The history of Liaise Loddon

Before it all began……


Our founder Marion Cornick MBE, worked in special care and education her whole life, including as head teacher of three special schools. She was also director of a large facility offering special care and education.  She always knew that there was a different way of doing things for children with learning disabilities and autism, and constantly worked towards changing things to make sure that each person was always given respect and opportunity. 

In 1988, Marion founded the Loddon School.  It’s an internationally renowned charity for children who can no longer live at home because of their severe and complex learning difficulties.  At that time, the Loddon School was the only school of its kind in the UK. She also developed programmes at the Loddon School which are positive and delivered in a supportive and therapeutic environment. From these, she created PROACT-SCIPr-UK®, which is a proactive approach to care that focuses on the whole person, not just their behaviours. More than 700 instructors now teach this programme in schools, care settings, hospitals, and community homes all over the British Isles.
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In 1989 Marion was joined at the Loddon School by Cathie Wyatt, and soon after, in 1990, by Henrik Holgersen, where they learnt how to care for the children in the same way that Marion did. As the oldest child living there approached his 18th birthday, it struck Marion, that whilst she had made a difference to the way children with such complex needs were cared for, there weren’t nearly enough good adult care homes able to support people with autism. So, Marion discussed this with her husband Tim and in 1995, they started Liaise Loddon so that they could make a real difference to the lives of people with autism.

How it all began……


Marion and Tim bought a three bedroomed house in Basingstoke, which they renovated and decorated with the help of Cathie who joined them as Registered Manager (& now Director of Care), of the first Liaise Loddon home.   Cathie had (& still has) the same passion as Marion for making a difference to the lives of these very special people.  Together they made that home – Cornfields - into a home that could help to support and care for people with complex needs.
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They stayed up late into the night many times, painting walls and making the property perfect for the first young people to move into their home. They met with opposition from the neighbours who did not want to accept the new residents of 98 Roman Road into their community, but Marion, Tim & Cathie eventually won them over, patiently explaining that old fashioned institutions were not the way forward for improving the lives of these unique young people.

The doors of that first property officially opened on 1st October 1995. Three young people began an exciting new chapter in their life supported by a wonderful team who were learning alongside them how to do things differently and make a real difference to people’s lives.

Tim, Marion & Cathie soon realised that there was an even greater demand for their new model and were being approached by local authorities looking for more availability to place people with complex needs. So, the following year, when another property in the same road came up for sale, they started on the next project, with three more young people making it their home.

In 1998, Henrik moved from the Loddon School to join the Liaise team.  Marion & Tim had decided to open a service a little further afield and purchased a larger more rural property in Somerset.  This was headed up by Henrik (part of the Liaise team to this day) who, after coming to England from Denmark at 18 years old to study for one year at the Loddon School, had decided that Marion’s new innovative way of caring for people with complex needs was a path that he wanted to follow.  So, the doors opened on the third Liaise Loddon property which became home to 6 young men.

For their next property, they decided to move their search back to Basingstoke and opened a home for 4 people.  This was managed by Sarah Trievnor-Long who worked closely alongside Cathie to learn the unique Liaise way of doing things.  Sarah remained with the company for 23 years and went on to become an Area Manager.

Romsey

Sadly, the following year in 2001, Tim passed away after a short illness. He was very missed, but Marion, Cathie & Henrik remained determined to continue the great work they had started.  At this point, Marion asked her youngest daughter Deborah if she would become part of the team so that they could expand further and make a difference to more young lives.  Although Deborah had grown up very much aware of her mother’s passion, her background was in engineering, so a complete change of direction.  But she welcomed the new challenge and stayed with the business for the next 17 years, first as Executive Director, then Business & Finance Director, and eventually as Managing Director.  Once Deborah had got to know more about the business, the decision was made to continue to expand.  More and more referrals were coming in from local authorities who were desperate to find the kind of unique support offered at the existing Liaise Loddon homes.  So, after a search for another suitable property, Marion, Deborah, Cathie & Henrik settled on a property in Romsey – Timaru which combined community living within a slightly more rural setting.  After some alterations to the property, to make it more suitable, it eventually became home to six young people in 2005.

A busy couple of years

Two years on, referrals were still pouring in, so it was time to go in search of further properties.  This led to Applelea being opened in 2007, followed two years later by Glebelands and Willow Tree Lodge.  It was when viewing a property close to Willow Tree Lodge that Cathie met local builders Dave Benwell & Andy Steele.  She explained to them the kind of properties we were looking for and the needs of the individuals who would live in them.  They viewed Willow Tree Lodge together, and Dave and Andy made all the alterations necessary for the property to become home for the next four individuals who required the very specialist service offered by Liaise Loddon.  Dave and Andy became an extended part of the team and have worked on every Liaise property since then, renovating, making alterations, and sometimes repairs to existing properties.

For the next home, we returned to the Romsey area, and in 2011, Marika House opened its doors.  Five more young people made their home and became part of the Liaise Loddon family.  It was felt, on reflection, that  two of the people living there would benefit more from a single self-contained annexe, so, with the help of Dave and Andy and a lot of discussion with the local authority and planning department, an existing building within the grounds was converted and an additional one built and made into two self-contained bungalows.  The main house was soon full again, meaning that Marika House could now be home for seven individuals, and share the communal areas, when they felt comfortable to do so.  This also meant that the staffing could be rotated between the main house and the two annexes.

Time for a change

Moving on to 2013, Deborah, Marion, Cathie & Henrik decided to try something slightly different from the housing model they had tried up until that point.  Nothing was to change about the proactive approach and the extensive training every single team member undertakes, but the style of living was approached differently.  They purchased Sansa House and converted into five self-contained bedsits, with a communal lounge, activity area and kitchen.  This meant that placements could be offered to a slightly different group – all of whom still had complex needs but could also be a little more independent.

In 2015, two small side by side bungalows in Oakley, just outside of Basingstoke, were purchased, and once again converted for the specific needs of the three individuals who would call them home – one completely self-contained property and one shared by two young ladies, both with their own bedroom and bathroom and sharing a  communal lounge/dining area.

Karibu Place opened its doors in 2018 to five more young people, again with very specific needs for who the property was especially designed around.  It modelled the success of Sansa House in that each individual has their own living accommodation, with communal areas for socialising.

Marion Cornick, MBE

Marion is well known in the field of special education for the contribution she has made to improving the quality of life for a very special group of people who are often marginalised, and she has written extensively and lectured both in the UK and internationally.

Her incredible work was recognised in 2016 when she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours list for services to education.


The next chapter……


And so, in 2019, after making it her life’s work to make a difference to people with severe learning disabilities and autism, Marion along with Deborah and the rest of their family, took the decision that the time had come, where, for the company to continue to grow, it needed to be part of a wider group. And they therefore decided to sell the company to Sequence Care Group, who they felt shared the same values and mission to enable people with complex needs to live happy fulfilling lives.

Throughout the twenty-four years it took to develop Liaise Loddon from Tim & Marion’s original dream to the 11 properties that are home to 49 very special and unique people, not much has changed around the approach we use.  We still train every single co-worker in the principles of PROACT-SCIPr-UK®This means getting it right for the person, rather than being reactive or responding to an episode of challenging behaviour. The aim is to raise the person’s self-esteem, improve quality of life, empower them, and enable them to live a more independent and fulfilling lifestyle – something we are very proud to have achieved for all these exceptional people.  To read more about the specialist team who ensure that these principles are entrenched in everything we do, see our specialist approach section.

We believe that the reason we have always received so many referrals and continue to do so is that we have gained a professional reputation for doing what we say we will.  Every member of the team receives training to equip them with the skills required to be a professional care worker.  The people who live with us are offered life-long person-centred learning and we work with them to develop their skills.  We have always supported the individuals who present high levels of challenges, we work with them to help them through difficult periods, and this gives them trust in the people supporting them, so that together they can move forward and enjoy a high quality lifestyle. 

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Thank you for reading our story.

Every person past and present, every service user, every co-worker, every consultant has all contributed to making Liaise Loddon who we are.

We feel it is completely unique - it is not just a business; it is so much more than that – it is a family and always will be.