College lands grant to develop key centre for independent living - The Evesham Observer

College lands grant to develop key centre for independent living

Evesham Editorial 9th Sep, 2023   0

A WORCESTERSHIRE college has been awarded a six-figure grant to create a dedicated base to prepare students with complex learning disabilities for independent living.

Pershore College has secured £243,000 from Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Children First, to create a new Preparation for Adulthood Centre and improve existing teaching and support facilities for students with high needs.

The college, part of college group WCG, will use the funding to convert one of its residential sites into the new Preparation for Adulthood Centre and upgrade its Avonbank building to make it more accessible, creating additional high needs places.

Pershore College’s Supported Learning Department delivers a number of programmes which focus on preparing students for further education in their chosen vocational field, employability to help students progress into apprenticeships or work, and life skills to support students to live more independently.

As part of the college offer, there is an opportunity for some students to join an additional study day to focus on personal development which includes developing domestic skills, learning about making healthy lifestyle decisions, support with traveling independently, social integration and work skills.

The new centre will be based on a home environment featuring a kitchen with height adjustable sink, hob and worktops, a dining area, lounge, two bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, an office and a private accessible garden.

It is anticipated that the centre will be open to students by September 2024.

Developments in the Grade II listed Avonbank building will include upgrades to corridors, doors, a kitchenette and an accessible toilet which will improve accessibility and create a more inclusive environment for students, with work expected to be completed later this year.

Louise Ball, Director of Schools, Re-engagement and SEND at WCG, said: “We are extremely pleased to secure the funding for the creation of our new Preparation for Adulthood Centre and upgrades to our Avonbank building.

“We have been working on our Preparation for Adulthood Centre for some time and it is fantastic that the local authority is supportive of our plans.

“We already offer a limited Preparation for Adulthood programme at Pershore College, but the funding will enable us to deliver the programme in full from a dedicated facility and also create an additional 12 to 16 student places.

“The support we provide to students with additional learning needs is extremely important in preparing them for life after college, and this new facility alongside the upgrades to Avonbank building will have a hugely positive impact on this.”

Coun Tracey Onslow, cabinet member for Education at Worcestershire County Council, said: “This funding reiterates our commitment to ensure all our students across the county have access to what they need to go on and reach their full potential.

“This will be fantastic in helping students with additional learning needs to practice life skills, and to support them to become independent.”

The funding was delivered through Worcestershire’s High Needs Provision Capital Allocations (HNPCA) for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities or requiring Alternative Provision.


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