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Our Story

Why did Care First and Skills Tank come into being?

It came about after a chance meeting; Chris went to have a ‘goodbye coffee and chat’ with a client who lived in a Care Home [owned by Neil Thorogood].  Chris went to explain that he was moving on because he wanted to setup a ‘Never been done before’ Adult Service based in a college for adults who have Behaviour Difficulties and who ‘Learn Differently’. Click here to read about Chris’s background.

This chance meeting with Neil, a qualified accountant and a successful discussion with North Birmingham College [now James Watt campus] resulted in Care First Ltd coming to life first, then Skills Tank. They both came about from a desire to give adults who learn differently and their carers:

  1. An alternative to the usual options;
  2. A desire to help and improve lives
  3. A belief that better outcomes are possible

It all started with a 6-week summer school at North Birmingham College in the summer of 1996. As word spread, demand grew and grew, the short summer school quickly became a yearlong provision.

A yearlong provision delivering fun, practical and easy to learn sessions that helped improve wellbeing through life and social skills, improve safety in the community by involving students in the community and giving students greater life choices through practical hands-on sessions rather than academic learning.

This year long provision, now in its 21st year, is backed by a partnership, with Birmingham Metropolitan College. It’s grown to help adults 16+ with more substantial needs (Skills Tank) through its partnership with Birmingham City Council, Staffordshire County Council and the NHS.


Skills Tank from Care First delivers carefully designed person centred practical and fun education in bite sized chunks via its supportive caring staff. We continually draw on the many years of hands on experience we’ve had working with adults with learning difficulties, learning disabilities, behaviour that challenges, mental health, autism, brain injuries, complex needs and physical disabilities to help them enjoy happier, calmer and more fulfilled lives.

Empowering people and improving lives is what Skills Tank is all about but not only our student’s lives but your life, as a carer, too. Just imagine the positive impact of reducing challenging behaviour, of greater family interaction and reducing medication. Now add in fewer sleepless nights and more ‘you’ time – yes, it is possible, yes we’ve achieved this and yes it can happen to you.

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