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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Centre of community

YEAR on from its official launch, the 14-19 Special Educational Needs Centre at Lakes College West Cumbria has become an important part of the local community.

Since the £1.7m centre was opened in October 2011 by actor Mathew Horne, it has been a hub for several activities and events that have influenced learners and people with special educational needs.

Cath Richardson, college principal, said: “The centre has made a difference to all of the students across the college, especially the performing arts students.

“Before the 14-19 SEN Centre was built, we did not have the facilities to offer this type of course.

“We are now into our second cohort and both years have been made up of a diverse group of young people with a variety of learning abilities.

“It is so rewarding to see how their ability to express themselves with confidence has improved and is having a positive effect on their lives.”

Students from external organisations have also been able to make use of the centre’s facilities.

Mayfield School in Whitehaven, which caters for students aged three to 19 with severe, complex or profound learning difficulties, sends a group of students each week during term time to take part in classes which help enhance their learning experiences.

Students and members of the community have also had the opportunity to listen to top motivational speakers in the centre.

Last month Paralympian silver medallist Karen Darke, gave an inspirational talk about overcoming barriers to achieve success at the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s annual members meeting, held at the centre.

Earlier this year, world class climber Leo Holding encouraged people to push themselves to be their best.

Mrs Richardson added: “The centre facilities, which include a state-of-the-art technology and a multi-use room, has offered lot of flexibility to the college and the wider community in the past year.”

It was funded by a £1m SEN grant from Cumbria County Council and a renewal grant of £225,000 from the Skills Funding Agency.

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