Purpose-built centre to help young people with learning difficulties opened at Askham Bryan College

York Press: The Lord Mayor of York, Coun Julie Gunnell, is served a cake by Nicole Wood inside the new Dentdale building The Lord Mayor of York, Coun Julie Gunnell, is served a cake by Nicole Wood inside the new Dentdale building

YOUNG people with learning difficulties in York will now be able to find support close to home to help them learn how to live independently.

A new £600,000 purpose-built centre has been launched at Askham Bryan College designed to support teenagers and young adults with severe learning difficulties and disabilities.

It is the first of its kind in York and means 16 to 24-year-olds who have previously had to leave the county to gain independent living and work skills will now be able to stay in the city.

The new facility, Dentdale, which was opened by the Lord Mayor of York, Coun Julie Gunnell, has been joint-funded by the college and the Department for Education, as part of a bid secured by City of York Council.

The curriculum has been designed by partners in York, including Askham Bryan College, York council, York College, York Leaning, Applefields, Danesgate Community and the Bluebuerry Academy.

It will combine classroom and vocational learning, linked to Askham Bryan’s land-based specialism, with the development of independent living skills and enterprise work skills.

John Thompson, 14-19 development manager at the council, 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 School.

“The new facility – the first of its kind in the city – has been created thanks to a strong partnership network in York. It will provide young people with the opportunity to develop their life and work skills in York, where they will ultimately live and work. As well as providing high- quality training in an exceptional setting, it will also significantly reduce the unnecessary cost of sending young people on placements out of the area.”

The new facility will build on Askham Bryan’s reputation for being a centre of excellence for its work with young people with disabilities: the college has recently been designated as a specialist centre for delivery of provision for students with autism, providing opportunities for young people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions from Applefields School and the Enhanced Resource Provision at Fulford School.

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