Our Heritage

Supporting people with visual & hearing impairments since 1833.

Our Heritage

The Wilberforce Trust traces its roots back to 1833 when the Yorkshire School for the Blind was opened in memory of William Wilberforce, who had died that year. The school was set up in one of York’s best-known historic buildings – the King’s Manor in the center of York, one the residence of the Abbot of St Mary and today part of the University of York.

See the Borthwick Institute Archives for more on the Wilberforce School for the Blind.

Our Heritage

History Timeline

Proud of our past, building for our future

1833

The Wilberforce Memorial was set up in response to the death of William Wilberforce. The founding members decided to build a school for the education and training of the “indigent blind”.

1893

The education of the blind is made compulsory sixty years after the Trust first addressed this vital issue.

1969

The Wilberforce Home opens on 4th August.

2002

Tenants move into community based supported housing and our first rehabilitation officer is appointed.

2014

First sensory sessions are run and the Living and Learning Zone classes start

2017

YorSensory formed under contract with teh City of York and our sensory services hub is launched.

2018

Our Mobile Outreach unit is launched; operating across the City of York and the breadth of North Yorkshire.

2018 – 2019

Plans created for new apartments, A Living and Learning Zone and gardens.

Connect with us

The Wilberforce Trust is dedicated to helping those with visual impairment, sight loss, hearing loss and other disabilites across York, North Yorkshire and the surrounding areas.