Step One Celebrates 85 Years!

Step One Celebrates 85 Years

This year is a special one for us as we mark 85 years since we were founded by Dame Georgiana Buller DBE in 1937. Since then, with your help, we’ve supported hundreds of people with hidden disabilities and mental health difficulties, through support and beyond, for as long as we are needed.

While we want to celebrate all that we have achieved in the last 85 years, we are mindful that there are still many more people who need our special support. It is our vision to help those suffering from mental health problems in Devon who need us, and we need your help to continue to make this happen. So join in the celebrations and help us make this year our best ever!

How Step One began

The history of Step One started in Exeter, when a lack of disability support became an issue. Step One was founded in 1937 as ‘St. Loye’s’ by Dame Georgiana Buller DBE as she set up St. Loye’s College with a vision to help physically disabled people return to their rightful status in the community. She believed that support should be available for people with disabilities to develop skills and achieve their potential, overcoming any barriers they faced in society.

Dame was an early disability rights pioneer, and often she spoke on the subject of disability with great passion: ‘’ “Normality! This is the goal to which every disabled individual, without exception, passionately aspires and which all, in their degrees, can achieve if given the right encouragement and opportunity.”

Dame Georgiana Buller DBE

Her Majesty The Queen then became our patron in 1946 where we are honoured to have the continued support of The Queen still to this day! We have welcomed her on several visits over the years to open facilities and to meet our staff. Take a look at just some of the photos of her visits.

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee

So, over the next few decades, St. Loye’s College adapted its name and how it supported people – St. Loye’s Foundation, which provided residential training and tuition in areas such as occupational therapy, catering and office skills.

Following changes in government funding in 2015, St Loye’s moved from providing residential-based training to a more diverse range of support. This included working with the Community Care Trust, a local charity with an excellent reputation for providing mental health services in South Devon, since 1989.

In recent years, there has been increasing recognition of how issues such as mental health, and invisible disabilities like autism spectrum conditions, can affect people’s wellbeing and ability to fulfil their potential.

After successfully working together, St Loye’s and the Community Care Trust officially joined forces – merging in 2015, and rebranded as Step One in 2017.

Today, together as Step One, we provide a range of support to enable people to manage their mental wellbeing and take a positive step forward to achieving their goals. If you want to learn more about Step One, please watch the following video where Amy Erith explains the work we do here at Step One.

Logo history

Here are a few of the ways we’re marking the milestone:

A new logo – You won’t catch us lying about our age. We are 85 and so proud of it, we created a logo that says so. To help commemorate the anniversary, the 85th anniversary image is being used in various modes of communications. If you would like to use our new logo, please email Step One Media, at

#85yearsin85photos – We will kick off our 85 year anniversary campaign on social media with our new hashtag #85yearsin85photos where throughout the year, we will be letting you in on our history, facts and never seen before images of Step One. Be sure that you are following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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