Upmo’s story

Upmo was started by Josh Barton in 2006, inspired by the belief that services for adults could truly be exciting, dynamic and meaningful.

At the time, there was a lack of opportunities in higher education for adults with learning difficulties – and a lack of understanding of individual needs. Meanwhile, people who did understand the needs of service users, such as support workers, had limited scope to encourage, inspire or motivate. As a result, many service users were isolated and in desperate need of opportunities to become more socially engaged, active and valued – or even celebrated as individuals.

In response, Upmo combined progressive learning within an educational curriculum with the building of support service provision. From Day One, service users were understood to be ‘students’ and support workers were called ‘community project workers.

Today, we are all active, we are all engaged, we are all progressing and we are all working to get more out of life… to be more fulfilled and empowered, and to become the best version of ourselves as possible. Everyone in Upmo plays a part in working towards this aim.

Upmo is about the celebration of life. It is about recognising that we all have dreams and aspirations, and that to live a fulfilling life some of us just need ‘support and opportunity’. I am proud of our diversely skilled staff, who bring dedication, compassion and other skills and experience to provide enriching and fun experiences for all our students.
— Josh Barton