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Training Centre for the Disabled in St Austell

Visitors look around a new training centre for the disabled in St Austell.

News 1963 1 mins Silent Not rated


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Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


The 1959 Mental Health Act repealed the Mental Deficiency Acts and espoused community care paving the way for more small scale residential training centres. The new law also meant some residents were admitted to centres on a voluntary basis unless seen as a danger to themselves, which subsequently became known as being sectioned. The 1959 Act used terms such as subnormal, severely subnormal and backward deemed acceptable by lawmakers at the time.

In 1961 the government announced the wide scale closure of mental institutions and a 1962 report highlighted hospital scandals in the mental health sector. The Hospital Plan for England and Wales included plans to develop hostels and sheltered accommodation. In 1986 the first closure of a large long-stay institution for people with learning difficulties was the Western Counties Institution at Starcross in Exeter. Today, it is more common to talk about intellectual and developmental disabilities for the learning disabled. Campaigners continue to highlight difficulties with the present voting system still being discriminatory against the learning disabled and mentally challenged.