The concept of SMILE was devised by the executive of Solway Mencap in July 1984. Parents were aware that for any person with a learning disability, there was no opportunity for them to stay in their own community for day service provision at that time.
Wigton needed its own day time support for people with learning disabilities and Solway Mencap decided to do all that it could to initiate a quality local provision. So it was decided that a ‘Community Project’ would be set up and financial support sourced.
The actual name SMILE (Solway Initiative for Leisure and Employment) wasn’t adopted until 1986 when there was one staff member supporting three young adults.
SMILE grew at a steady pace and by 1988 was employing five staff who helped provide support to 15 individuals.
Cumbria Social Services, at that time, recognising the value of the scheme, provided temporary financial support which later led to a more secure three year agreement in 1989.
In 1996 SMILE decided to apply for charitable status and the organisation changed its name to Chrysalis with the management of the service becoming under Chrysalis’ employ in 1998.
Since then, Chrysalis has continued to grow at a steady pace and now supports around 60 individuals funded by Adult Social Care or through private contracts.
The continued success of the organisation has resulted in an increase in the range of activities on offer, the development of social enterprises such as Chrysalis Wholefood Shop, and the development of off site outreach and satellite provisions.