History of Community Living

Community Living’s launch in 1987 followed the first closure of a long-stay institution for people with a learning disability, Starcross Hospital in Devon.

The new era of “community care” services more than 35 years ago was the backdrop to magazine founder Elinor Harbridge’s aim to create a magazine championing the rights of people with learning disabilities.

It was a groundbreaking concept at the time.

Harbridge, a social affairs journalist, appointed social worker, academic and advocate David Brandon as editor.

Over the three decades since, more long-stay hospitals have been closed down. But institutional approaches to care and support remain, and full citizenship for people with learning disabilities is still not a reality.

This drive for equality has been upheld by past editors including David Brandon, Elinor Harbridge, Andrew Holman and Simon Jarrett, the latter developing the magazine’s online and social media presence. Saba Salman took over editorship in late 2022, our fifth editor since launch, with a remit to further develop the title. Her changes include bringing new contributors, a major redesign with production editor Christy Lawrance and recruiting digital producer Steph Gray to the team for an ambitious website launch and to progress the online strategy. The addition of editorial administrator Christine Mottley to Community Living in 2022 is a further boost to development plans.

We went fully digital from January 2024 – so we now publish a magazine in full colour and are able to reach people quickly, wherever they are. All individual articles on our website are free for anyone to read, and our newsletter is free too. The full digital magazine is accessible to subscribers and sponsors.

We are funded by our charitable sponsors, individual supporters and subscribers.

Charity Elfrida Society became publisher in the early 2000s before independent publisher and campaigner Rose Trustam took on the role. Today, Community Living is published by a charitable board, CL Initiatives, headed by publisher Jo Adshead, chief executive of LinkAbility. We are also supported by an editorial advisory board.

The founding principles of inclusion and equality remain at the core of our editorial ethos.