Astra Centre was started in 1950 when Dr Louis Mirvish realised there were people in the community who were unable to find or sustain employment. And so the seed was planted and has grown and developed into an internationally recognised social enterprise.

The Centre’s philosophy is based on reality, bearing in mind at all times the needs of the workers both therapeutically and from the business perspective. Income from the sale of goods, donations (including greeting cards service), fundraising and bequests all contribute to the sustainability of the organisation.

The therapeutic benefit of being occupied with meaningful work is unmeasurable and the demand for the high-quality goods manufactured at the centre is remarkable. The pride of each worker in their role in the production of these beautiful products tells the story. The Astra programme is recognised worldwide and the centre is acknowledge as a leader in the field of mental disability.

Astra Centre, incorporates Coffee Time, Giftime and The Rosecourt Foundation – which consists of three group homes: Rosecourt House, Rosecourt Terrace and Vriende House all give the residents the opportunity of living independently in a Jewish ‘’home from home’’ environment.

A team of dedicated staff provides counselling, life skills training and support to the individual and their families. The Centre also serves as a placement for University social work students. Volunteers also play a valuable role in the success of Coffee Time, Giftime, the Astra Workshop and the garden.

Apart from the workshops, the centre runs a Supported Employment Programme, supporting those with disability to work in the open labour market. At present there are 14 people working successfully in various occupations, such as hotels, security, school assistants and parking attendants. They are offered constant support and facilitation by our social worker and this has proved to be most successful.

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