From education to employment

Ground breaking ceremony for £4.9m SEND Independence Hub at Brockenhurst College

Brockenhurst College leaders hosted representatives from Hampshire County Council at the official ground breaking ceremony for a £4.9m Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Independence Hub on Friday.

Cllr Pal Hayre joined the College’s Chair of Governors Graham Beards and Vice Principal Limor Feingold to watch Foundation Studies students do the honours.

The new building will contain 14 new classrooms, social space, staff space, meeting rooms, a medical room, a hygiene room and a sensory room, among other facilities.

Cllr Pal Hayre

In addition, the 1,200 square-metre, single storey, modular structure will house the College’s existing Foundation Studies department.

This move will free-up existing facilities to accommodate extra students that are expected from 2023 onwards due to a forecast surge in 16 – 19 year-olds in the general population.

Vice Principal Limor Feingold, who has overseen the project from its inception, said: “This specialised facility will further enable young people with special educational needs and disabilities to share in the benefits of post-16 education.

“My most sincere thanks go to Hampshire County Council, whose ongoing partnership has once again contributed to the development of the College’s provision and facilities.

“Inclusivity is a key value for us and this building epitomises who we are as a college.

“Our vision and core purpose to help people make the most of their lives through learning underpins our approach, helping ensure a brighter future for all our learners.”

Funding of £4m for the project has been provided by the Department for Education’s £83m Post-16 Capacity Fund, which is earmarked for accommodating the forecast increase in learners.

This award was made possible thanks to match funding of £0.9m provided by Hampshire County Council through its High Needs Capital Funding, which is dedicated to creating additional SEND places across the county.

Independence Hubs are being rolled out across Hampshire as part of Hampshire County Council’s ‘All Our Talents’ SEND Employability Action Plan.

This aims to help young people with learning and physical disabilities to develop independent living skills and successfully move onto adulthood and employment.

The new Hub at Brockenhurst College, once complete, will be one of four hubs across Hampshire and will be the first to be housed in an entirely new building.

Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services at Hampshire County Council, Roz Chadd, said:“Young people with SEND deserve the same opportunities as their peers to flourish and realise their full potential as they enter adulthood.

“We know that they care greatly about their future career prospects and being socially and economically independent.

“We are committed to helping young people with SEND to achieve success and are working with colleges and schools to provide training and education focussed on the essential skills they need to happily live independently, gain employment, good health and become an active member of their local community.

“Our Independence Hubs are central to this work, providing bespoke facilities and learning tailored to students’ needs.”

The building project is scheduled to be completed by July 2023, allowing the facility to be operational from the start of the new academic year.

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