Bath College has opened a new Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Centre, Wellow House, which houses a whole range of state-of-the-art facilities for those with learning difficulties.
The centre includes a sensory room, a de-escalation calming room, an accessible kitchen and a fully operational one-bedroomed flat.
Wellow House is at Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus in Radstock and has had a £300,000 investment from B&NES Council.
The new facility has allowed the College to welcome a cohort of pre-entry level learners with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD).
These learners follow a curriculum designed around Pathways for Adulthood and making good choices for their lives.
This new programme is an addition to the College’s successful Life and Independent Living Skills (LILS) programme, designed for 16-25-year-old learners with SEND.
Wellow House has attracted attention in Somerset, with the Glastonbury Festival stewards raising £740, which was used to purchase items for the sensory room such as bean bags and weighted blankets.
There are exciting plans for the future of the centre, which include a café, market garden and on-site residence.
The launch was also the LILS and Pre-entry students’ annual Christmas fair, for which they prepared hampers, cakes and soup, a raffle, homemade chutneys, gifts and games for the visitors of the facility to purchase.
The learners will spend the proceeds on a small reward for themselves for their hard work, donating the rest to CLIC Sargent, a charity that has helped many of them through cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Carole Stott, Chair of Governors at Bath College, officially opened the SEND Centre with a ceremonial ribbon after the students welcomed guests by signing and singing Christmas songs.
She said: “We are delighted to launch Wellow House.
“This initiative is part of the ‘Local First’ policy, where young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities are educated in their local community rather than being sent ‘out of county’.”
Chris Wilford, Head of Education Inclusion Service at B&NES Council added: “It’s been an absolute pleasure for us at the local authority to work in partnership with Bath College to bring a much-needed facility to young people in B&NES and the surrounding area.”