Dacon Trust History

The Dacon Trust History – The Story behind the Level Best Art Cafe

The Level Best Art Café first opened its doors in 2008 and since then has become well established within the local community. The question is how did we get here in the first place? To answer that we need to go back to 1970 when The Dacon Trust was formed and have a look at the journey the Trust has taken to get to where we are today.


In 1970 The Dacon Trust was formed as a charity to provide education and training to children with learning disabilities. The Trust built a school set within beautiful surroundings in the village of Great Tey.

The emphasis at the school was on specially trained staff (speech therapists, music teachers and physiotherapists) and small group learning so as to enhance the experiences of the children that attended. Twelve children with learning disabilities attended this nationally recognised school for 15 years and the foundations were laid for a meaningful and active adult life.

So, what happened next?

To continue the development of these twelve young adults The Dacon Trust embarked on a new project – ‘The Activity Centre’, based in the school building. The programme of activities were centred around teaching work and life skills so as to promote as high a level of independence as possible for each individual. Activities that took place included horticulture, cooking, menu planning, computer literacy and arts and crafts – all of which formed the basis of what was to come next.


The Dacon Trust’s next big step came in 2006 when they established the Level Best Social Enterprise. With this new project the Trust wanted to create genuine work experience and training opportunities for adults with learning disabilities. To achieve this they created three sustainable business projects:

ArtCo - Art & Publishing Services
Dacon Bake - Catering & Bakery Services
Outer Limits  - Horticulture & Care of Wildlife

These projects were all run from the original school building in Great Tey.

The Dacon Trust felt that in order to have a more accessible, inclusive, community based project it would need to re-locate to a town centre. After much searching the perfect building was identified and renovated to be fully accessible to all. That building was D’Arcy House in Colchester – The home of The Level Best Art Café.

You’ll see from ‘our business projects’ page that the three original business projects that were established in 2006 form the basis of what we provide today.

2012 and Beyond:

As in 1970 when The Dacon Trust was first created we continue to provide a service that is run by qualified, professional staff with a high staff to trainee ratio to ensure the best quality of service possible.

The Dacon Trust will continue to look at ways to develop in the future, always striving to meet the changing and challenging needs of those it provides a service to and ensuring it is accessible to all who wish to be part of it.


Level Best Art Cafe,
D'arcy House, 3 Culver Street East
Colchester, Essex C01 1LD

01206 366 059


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