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New ‘high-needs’ support is a first at Askham Bryan College
YOUNG people with learning difficulties will be able to receive support and training locally, thanks to a new £600,000 scheme in York.
Independent living facility Dentdale – the first of its kind in York – will open this autumn at Askham Bryan College.
It is designed to teach vital life and work skills to students aged 16 to 24 with severe learning difficulties and disabilities.
It has been joint-funded by the college and the Department for Education, through a bid secured by City of York Council.
Its programmes will combine classroom and vocational learning linked to the college’s land-based studies, developed by organisations including Askham Bryan, the council, York College, York Learning, Applefields School, Danesgate Community and the Blueberry Academy.
Dentdale will also provide business and enterprise space.
The bid intends to increase the number of “high-needs learners” at the college to 24 this year and 36 next year, although the facility may cater for more.
The council has commissioned eight places at independent specialist colleges outside York so far this year.
John Thompson, the council’s principal advisor for the 14 to 19 age group, said: “The number of young people with severe learning difficulties and disabilities in York has increased significantly in recent years, and they’ve previously had to go out of the county to receive independent living and employment support after leaving Applefields.
“As well as providing high-quality training in an exceptional setting, it will significantly reduce the unnecessary cost of sending young people on placements out of the area.”
Ade Brownlow, section leader for adventure and outdoor living at the college, said: “The Dentdale project has been a great opportunity to start with a blank sheet of paper and create a new facility, and we have been involving people who will stay there, their families, staff and local organisations to make sure the new service matches their needs and abilities.”
Coun Janet Looker, the council’s cabinet member for education, children and young people, described Dentdale as “an exciting and important opportunity” which would open new doors for vulnerable young people.
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