AFG Reaches its 20th Birthday!

On 22nd January 2012, AFG celebrated 20 years of providing high quality support within the North West!  Here we take a brief look at some of our milestones.


1992 Alternative Futures was founded by Matthew Clarke. Incorporated on 22nd January 1992, it gained charitable status in February of the same year.

The first service was in Liverpool. Commissioned by Liverpool Health Authority, the service provided support for people with complex mental health needs. There soon followed several new contracts with Cheshire Health Authority, to provide for the closure of Cranage Hall Hospital and others; working in partnership with the former St Helens, Knowsley, Warrington and Wigan Health Authorities.

AFG head office was located in an old air raid shelter at Roddick Street in Woolton Village, Liverpool.

1993 Tom Cleator joined AFG as a Trustee over holding a range of responsibilities, including the Chair of Alternative Housing.

Childwall Brook opened in June.

1994  Weaver Lodge launched in June of this year.

1996 Fir Trees, Sycamore and Lea Court  launched in September, October and December respectively.

1997 By December, AFG supported 342 people in partnership with Health Authorities and Local Authorities throughout the North West of England, principally in small registered homes.

Oak Lodge opened in August.

1998 As the Charity grew the head office moved from Woolton, Liverpool, to the Anita Samuels Centre in Huyton, Liverpool. New models of service were introduced, with more and more people able to enjoy the freedom of being a tenant of their own home, and the Charity expanded into Manchester and Lancashire.

1999 IiP status achieved.

2001 Mill Brook in Manchester and Meadow Park in Ellesmere Port were launched.

2002 The model had moved in favour of Supported Living, with individuals holding tenancies either in their own flat, or sharing with 2 or 3 others. To support this, AFG’s developed strong partnerships and working relationships with a number housing providers specialising in supported accommodation, and established a sister charity, Alternative Housing.

2002 Tom Cleator was appointed as Chairman for AFG.

2006 Neil Campbell joined AFG as Chief Executive having previously held three Chief Executive posts in NHS Scotland.

2007 Matthew Clarke, founder, retired.

2008 The AFG logo re-branded. The new logo, based on the blossom concept, took the letters AFG and stylised them to create the stem of a flower. The symbolism of the flower represents the people we support. The flower needs care and attention to grow to its full potential.

Elections for the representatives of the Employee Partnership Forum took place in September, and in October, EPF was formed.

AFG and the public service union UNISON entered into a formal partnership agreement for the first time.

2009 Head office moved again to new premises on the Kings Business Park at Prescot, Knowsley, and was officially opened on Friday 12 June by the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead DBE and Miss Lorna Hargreaves, an AFG Service User.

November 17th – a significant day in the history of AFG which marked the launch of our three year strategy for developing and growing our mental health services.

AFG were awarded 3 Stars for Key Inspection for Domiciliary Care.

2010 Associated charity Alternative Housing was transferred over to LHT 31st March, allowing AFG to focus on its core services.

AFG was successful in retaining IiP status.

Abbey Court was opened in Warrington in December.

2011 Tom Cleator retired as Chair after 18 years of service to the Charity.  New Chair Edward Pysden succeeded to the role.

2012 AFG continues to grow and is now one of the largest charitable support providers in the North West of England, employing around 2,300 people and supporting approximately 870 individuals.