Our History

Humble beginnings… to leading service provider

In 1971 St Anne’s Shelter and Housing Action was founded in response to the growing number of homeless and socially excluded people in Leeds. Before any services were created, homeless people were interviewed and they identified the need for a day centre. The St Anne’s Centre was opened in December 1971. That initial instinctive decision to ask and listen to people, to find out what they wanted, set the ethos for St Anne’s, which over the last five decades has grown in to a leading person-centred service provider.

We pride ourselves on delivering a diverse range of services with the service user at the heart of everything we do. The tabs below give a brief summary of our journey of achievement.

  • The 1970's
  • The 1980's and 90's
  • Millennium onwards
  • Leading the way today

    The 1970’s

    St Anne’s has been taking the initiative in the field of community care and support since 1971.

    The lack of a daytime refuge for the homeless in Leeds stirs volunteers into action. Using available space at Leeds Cathedral they create a Day Centre offering food and ‘a friendly atmosphere’ where homeless men can come and go freely without pressure.
    St Anne’s purchases a property on Kelso Road in Leeds and converts it into a home for 12 recovering alcoholics. Leeds City Council find new, larger premises for our Day Centre at Bingley Street.
    A milestone year. St Anne’s opens the country’s first ever community based detoxification centre. A ‘treatment not punishment’ answer to Leeds drunkenness problem, the centre takes people brought by the police following arrest. They are helped to tackle their drink problem by following a programme of self help and mutual aid, backed-up by expert advice from the centre’s trained staff.
    St Anne’s sponsors research into ‘care in the community’ for homeless people with mental health problems. Results show that advances in treatment mean that many homeless people with mental health problems could have successful after-care treatment whilst living in the community. To put our theory into practice, Oak Lodge opens – a home for homeless people recovering from mental health problems following hospital treatment.

    The 1970's

    The 1980’s and 90’s

    During the 1980’s and 90’s we continued to listen and grow our services.

    St Anne’s is registered as a Housing Association.

    St Anne’s registers to run the Community Programme – a job creation scheme to provide paid work for unemployed people on tasks which benefit the community.

    Ashton House, a purpose built extension to the Leeds Detoxification Centre is opened with funds from a local Charitable Trust.

    St Anne’s is invited to assist in the re-provision of services from learning disability hospitals in Leeds. Since then St Anne’s has become one of the largest voluntary sector providers of services for people with learning disabilities in Yorkshire.

    St Anne’s opens its supported housing service with 12 units in shared housing quickly followed in 1988 by 17 flats.

    St Anne’s begins work with Kirklees Council and Huddersfield and Dewsbury Health Authorities to develop new services to enable people to leave Storthes Hall Psychiatric Hospital and Fieldhead Learning Disability Hospital.


    Harrogate Health Authority asks St Anne’s to work with them on the closure of Whixley Hospital for people with learning disabilities – our first house in North Yorkshire opens the following year in Green Hammerton.

    Community Carers – a family placement scheme for adults with learning disabilities is launched and St Anne’s begins work with Calderdale Health Authority in the closure of Stansfield View Hospital opening 7 new homes for people with learning disabilities in the following year.

    Huddersfield Health Authority transfer 8 nursing homes and a day centre to St Anne’s, Dewsbury HA transfers 2 nursing homes and Harrogate HA transfers 3 residential care homes – all of these are for people with learning disabilities.

    Holdforth Court, an award winning hostel for homeless people, is opened in Leeds. A project working with drug users is started at St Anne’s Resource Centre.

    St Anne’s wins tender to take over the DHSS Resettlement Unit in Sheffield – now our Bevin Court direct access hostel; to build 34 flats as part of the replacement programme for the Resettlement Unit in Leeds; and to develop 4 residential care homes in Craven to replace Castleberg Learning Disability Hospital.

    St Anne’s is recognised as an Investor in people.

    A team to work with rough sleepers in Sheffield is set up working with health and social service colleagues from a GP practice in the city centre

    Millennium Onwards

    Our continued development of services over the last two decades:

    St Matthew’s project in Dewsbury opens, providing a resource centre and 12 flats for homeless people.

    St Anne’s opens a new residential service in Middlesbrough for people with learning disabilities and begins work in Durham to develop new services to replace Earls House Hospital. A new service providing support to people with mental health problems is started in Sheffield.

    St Anne’s is selected to provide a supported living service for 26 service users with learning disabilities moving from Fieldhead Hospital in Wakefield.

    A former residential home for people with mental health problems in Dewsbury is converted into 3 flats for people with mental health problems. The building also provides a base for the staff who provide support to the tenants.

    In South East Sheffield a Community Support Service contributes practical support in the community to individuals with mental health problems and their carers.

    St Anne’s opens a supported living service for 5 people with profound learning disabilities at Fearnville Grove, Leeds.

    St Anne’s is selected to provide a specialist service for 3 people with profound learning disability in Sunderland.

    St Anne’s takes over a residential care home in East Yorkshire Services for people with learning disabilities are opened in Sunderland.

    More supported living services developed in Kirklees.

    St Anne’s Silver Jubilee House is redeveloped to provide alternative accommodation for people who moved out of Meanwood Hospital in Leeds.


    Company changes name to St Anne’s Community Services

    St Anne’s invited to take over supported housing support for six households in Leeds.

    All services for the Fieldhead, Wakefield, re-provision are open.

    St Anne’s redevelops hostel for single homeless men in Sheffield.

    Services for people with profound learning disabilities are opened in Newcastle.

    St Anne’s re-profiles mental health residential care homes to Supported Living.

    Alcohol services in Leeds are re-profiled.


    St Anne’s wins a contract to provide a respite care/short break service for people with learning disabilities in Calderdale.

    Supported Living services for people with learning disabilities opened in North Tyneside.

    Sports facilities provided at Bevin Court Hostel in Sheffield.
    Five training kitchens are installed at Holdforth Court Hostel in Leeds.

    Work on re-modelling North Yorkshire learning disability services starts.


    Alternative Supported Living service established in Leeds for people with learning disabilities previously in registered care

    Work with commissioners to re-profile our learning disability services in North Yorkshire.

    A property in Leeds refurbished to provide additional move on accommodation with support for people with mental health issues.

    Moving forward at 50

    2021 marks our 50th year, and look to the future we have refocussed St Anne’s with a fresh purpose, vision and new set of core values – which pay homage to the original reason St Anne’s was created.

    Our vision is “A life without limits for the people we support” and we will continue to develop and grow to champion the people we support, to ensure they have fulfilled lives.

    To discover more please click here.

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