Our History

For more than 25 years, AbilityNet has been championing the transformative power of technology to change lives in the workplace, in education and at home. From modest beginnings, we are now leading experts in all areas of digital and assistive technologies and our impact is felt worldwide.

IBM roots

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 1998, 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. 

Meet our patron: Martha Lane Fox

AbilityNet's Patron Baroness Martha Lane Fox

In 2011, Martha Lane Fox (Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho) became our patron. 

Over the past decade, AbilityNet has seen government departments and some of the UK’s biggest employers become customers, while continuing to deliver free tech help to disabled people by phone, email 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 charitable organisation, AbilityNet continues to punch above its weight.

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