City of York Council, Askham Bryan College and York College have secured over £400,000 to support young people with learning difficulties and disabilities after successfully bidding for Department for Education (DfE) funding.
The DfE announced an opportunity to bid against £40m in April to offer funding to support Local Authorities and involve funded providers of post 16 education and training, to whom the capital funding will be transferred directly.
City of York Council has secured £36,200 (and £100,000 council capital spend which was approved at budget Full Council), to create a new learning space and additional places within a new Autism Hub. It is hoped the hub will be placed within the former Oliver House elderly people’s home, which is set to be a new Health and Social Care Hub
This new venture will be led by a Voluntary Sector Management Group which brings together a range of key support and delivery agencies for both young people and adults with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD) in York.
The hub will support the particular needs of young people with Autistic Spectrum conditions, which are for quieter, low stimulus environments with the availability of spaces for “time out” to reduce learners’ anxieties. These needs often make accessing learning post-16 particularly difficult. Whilst other students with learning difficulties have accessed mainstream courses with support, learners with ASC have often found some settings too large, noisy, daunting and bewildering. The facility will open in the spring of next year.
Cllr Janet Looker, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People, said:
“This is fantastic news for the city. The funding will go a long way to support the development of facilities and provision for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities in York.
“York has an excellent record for supporting children on the autism spectrum, and this new initiative will take that support to an older group of young people and enable them to take their education forward.”
Askham Bryan College has secured £328,000, with college contribution of £80,000, to build a new specialist facility for learners with LDD. The scheme will provide a new single storey-learning centre within the grounds of Askham Bryan College for the use of learner’s aged 16–25 with LDD. This purpose built learning facility will enable the delivery of general vocational learning and, in particular, the development of independent living skills. It will incorporate short-term residential accommodation for 8-10 people.
Liz Philip, Principal, Askham Bryan College said:
"This significant development will be life changing for hundreds of young people as they develop independence, confidence and learning skills which for many would have been unimaginable. Empowering and inspiring young people underpins everything we do and I am delighted that this decision means we can take this to a new level."
York College received £40,200 to remodel their existing space to provide additional space and places for learning. This scheme is for remodelling the allocated teaching areas to increase the size and capacity of learning spaces, provide enhanced accessible/adapted facilities and to create an environment in which personalised, flexible learning (vocational and independent living) can take place
York College principal, Dr Alison Birkinshaw comments:
"This is a great example of the way partnership working in the City can bring real benefits and we are really pleased that this bid will allow us to develop facilities at York College. We are also delighted to be able to work with Askham Bryan College and the Local Authority to make sure our facilities for young people with disabilities are first class."
Authorities from across the country were encouraged to bid for the funding to address growth in the population of young people aged 16–19 years old; increases in learners aged 16–19 years old as a result of reduced number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) and increased provision for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD)
The bid was coordinated by the council, with strong support from the organisations behind each of the three schemes. All funding has to be spent by the end of the 2012/13 financial year with works completed by 31 March 2013.