Our History

AbilityNet was formed in 1998 from the merger of two organisations: the Computability Centre, established at IBM Warwick in 1987, and the Foundation for Communication for the Disabled, founded in 1985.

Both organisations shared a vision to provide free advice and assessments for disabled people, funded by paid-for services to companies and government organisations and fundraising from charitable trusts. Since 1988, AbilityNet has transformed into a self-sustaining charity with a national reputation as a leader in assistive technology, enhancing the lives of many thousands of people in their education, employment and personal lives. In 2011, Martha Lane Fox (Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho) became our patron. 

Over the last decade, AbilityNet has seen government departments and some of the UK’s biggest employers become customers, while continuing to deliver free help to disabled people by phone, e-mail and on our website.

Our business services have expanded, and our consultants have extended their scope to include workplace inclusion, support for students and website and software accessibility. In 2017, our Head of Digital Inclusion and founding member, Robin Christopherson, was awarded an MBE for his services to digital inclusion.

We now have over 80 staff across our main offices in London, Reading and Warwick, along with 12 DSA assessment centres around the UK.   

As a relatively small organisation, AbilityNet continues to punch above its weight.

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