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Our Story

For over 60 years, we have provided high-quality mental health services to empower vulnerable individuals. Join our care journey.

Our Story

Over 60 years of providing high-quality mental health services

We've been innovators for over 60 years, existing to support some of the most vulnerable members of our society to lead better, more fulfilling lives. 

We initially started as a small group of spirited volunteers who wanted to change how care in Oxford was delivered to the community. Fast forward all those years, and we've grown into the organisation you see today. 

Here's some of the stuff we got up to along the way. 


In the early 1960’s innovative staff who worked at the Littlemore Hospital identified that some patients within the hospitals didn’t need to be there and would benefit from living in the local community and promoting their independence. Littlemore Hospital’s primary focus was rehabilitation and resettlement of longer-stay patients, reducing the number of occupied beds, and increasing social areas. Volunteers connected and became what is known today as the League of Friends Committee- who helped to progress the care in the community, signing new leases for properties and raising money for the organisation, which was known as Oxford Group Homes.


By 1966 the organisation rented 16 houses on 1-3 year leases and had bought one home. The properties, scattered across Oxford, housed 103 people who had lived with years of continuous hospitalisation.


As the organisation grew due to the League of Friends' support, it soon became known as Oxfordshire Group Homes. By the 1980s, we developed residential care homes and houses still part of today's organisation – Iris Hayter House, Kate Turnbull House and St. Gabriels. These houses are named after some of the most influential people within the League of Friends, demonstrating our gratitude for the help and support they provided the organisation.


Oxfordshire Group Homes continued to grow and required a central office to coordinate activities; AG Palmer house was opened in April by Hugo Brunner, H.M. Lord-Lieutenant for Oxfordshire and remains the head office today.


The organisation re-branded to the name we continue to use today, Response Organisation, to reflect how it developed and adapted since forming in the 1960s.


We formed a partnership with Oxfordshire Mind. We work together to enhance the support provided to people with mental health problems, ensuring they receive the best support possible when and where they need it.


The organisation became part of the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership (OMHP) in 2014, which brought Response together with five other specialist mental health organisations: Connection Support, Elmore Community Services, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxfordshire Mind, and Restore.

The OMHP was a first of its kind and created a cohesive approach to mental health for the people of Oxfordshire. It offers a wide range of interventions, including inpatient hospital care, community mental health and third-sector services to get people back into employment, education, stable accommodation and relationships.


Response launched a new service in Thatcham. The building, named Carramar, is a flagship service in an exciting new area for the business. As Response’s first dedicated housing project in Berkshire, it came about after several years of extensive planning with Berkshire Health Foundation Trust and its partners. Carramar met a much-needed demand in the county for those requiring 24-hour support but who didn't need to be in hospital.


Children and Young People's partnership with Oxford Health commenced as a trailblazer across Oxford City and North Oxfordshire, meaning Response now supports individuals of all ages with their mental health.


During the summer of 2020, the Mental Wealth Academy was launched and offered a 1:1 intervention programme for 18 to 25-year-olds in partnership with Oxfordshire Mind, Oxfordshire Youth, BYHP, Ark-T and SOFEA.

By the end of the year, Harwood House opened in Buckinghamshire, meaning Response now operates services across the Thames Valley.

In 2020, the Young People's Accomodation Service (YPSA) was launched in partnership with Oxfordshire Youth and Oxfordshire County Council, delivering shared supported accommodation for approximately 200 young people between the ages of 16 and 24.


It is announced that Nicola Leavesley will become joint CEO with  John McLaughlin

The Settled Oxfordshire service was launched in partnership with Oxford City Council and Resonance. The service will take 47 people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and place them in either a flat or shared house within Oxfordshire.

The CAMHS Tier 4 Social Prescriber service was commissioned across Berkshire West, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. This service offers young people with complex mental health challenges, that are accessing hospital services, with Social Prescribing. This is flexible support that focusses on what matters most to them and connects them with the community. Response were also commissioned to provide Social Prescribers in the CAMHS Getting Help and Getting More Help teams.

The Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) were remodelled, with Response providing MHST Wellbeing Youth Workers across the county.


In 2023 Reframe was launched in Berkshire West, to provide mental health and wellbeing support to those who are leaving the care of the local authority (care leavers).

In 2023, sadly the Mental Wealth Academy and the Home Care service closed due to funding challenges.

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