The William Merritt Disabled Centre was named after Councillor William Merritt S.R.N., R.M.N. William Merritt was born in Sheepscar, Leeds. He was employed as a Charge Nurse in the Geriatric Dept. at St. James' Hospital. He trained in General Nursing at the Leeds General Infirmary and in Psychiatric Nursing at Menston Hospital, later known as High Royds Hospital.
Councillor Merritt was a member of the Confederation of Health Service Employees and he held a number of official posts. He was elected to the City Council in May 1946 and from 1953 he represented Armley, New Wortley and City Ward respectively.
His main interest in the Council was in the field of Social Services and in 1953 he pioneered the development of the City's 'Welfare Scheme for the Disabled'. Councillor Merritt encouraged the development of voluntary organisations for disabled people in the City. He was a member of the Leeds National Health Service Executive Council and was Deputy Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1972.
During his time as Chairman of the Social Services Committee the proposal to launch the Centre was presented in 1980 and a Committee formed under his aegis leading to the establishment of the Centre. Unhappily William Merritt died before the Centre opened and it was unanimously agreed that the Centre should bear his name in recognition of his work for disable people over many years.
The Centre provides impartial information, advice and assessment on equipment and practical aspects of daily living for disabled people of all ages, their carer’s, professionals and older people. We offer free assessments and advice on everyday living equipment including stairlifts, wheelchairs, kitchen gadgets, beds, chairs, toileting, mobility scooters.
The Centre opened in December 1981 (The Year of the Disabled) to become a permanent legacy of that year with the help of our founders. It was enthusiastically supported by both NHS in Leeds and Social Services Department of Leeds City Council. Our vision and mission have remained unchanged since its opening. The Children’s Service offers free assessments and advice for disabled children, their parents and carers. The switches project offers free assessment and advice and technology such as computers, iPod’s. The Mobility Service offers driving assessment and passenger care assessment as well as how to get wheelchairs in and out of a car. There is a charge for that service.
Arthur Goldthope O.B.E
Professor Anne Chamberlain O.B.E
Derek Jones O.B.E