An exciting new project, a new Educational, Work Training and Social Centre with Community facilities for young people with a learning disability, autism and challenging behaviour and their families.
In Bedford there are over 2,400 adults and 800 children with a learning disability ad these numbers are increasing with population growth and increasing life expectancy of people with Downs Syndrome and a rise in reported number of children and young people with learning disabilities which fall under the remit of the autistic spectrum.
There is limited access to opportunities that take place during the day for people with learning disabilities. Government cuts have led to the loss of more services.
Our Mill Street site is too small and there is no access for wheelchair users. The services we currently offer is limited due to space. We now have a waiting list for people wishing to access our services especially as opportunities elsewhere in Bedford are decreasing.
The new build
We raised the funds to purchase a one acre site just outside Clapham, Bedfordshire and have been granted planning permission for the new centre.
The new centre will host a variety of rooms such as fully equipped classrooms, specific rooms for exercise/keep fit, arts, crafts, drama and music. There will also be multi-sensory rooms including a space specifically for young people with Learning disabilities and their siblings.
The new centre will enable us to offer more services and enable attendees with physical disabilities to have better access.
The new centre will be a fit for purpose building enabling access for over 300 adults and young people. This means we will be able to offer services to 3 times the number people we currently work with.
The new site will include up to date facilities which will include:-
New classrooms that will enable us to expand our current educational course options.
An industrial kitchen and café enabling us to provide increased work experience for our members, wider community interaction and opportunities for parent/carer support and enhance independent living skills and courses.
A supported training flat to aid people moving from home into their own accommodation; the flat will also double as an emergency respite centre.
A multi-sensory room and soft play area.
NHS, therapy and relaxation rooms.
Access for people with multiple disabilities.
Our intention is that the new centre will be much more community inclusive. It will include a wide range of facilities that will complement our services to people with learning disabilities. The centre will also be accessible to the wider community and charities that need access to facilities to hold meetings and small events.
In addition to support from specialist members of staff with different skills, two specific members of staff will be employed, a transitions coordinator and a full-time and sessional youth workers to help provide the services needed.
Services for young people
Provisions for young people under 18, is one of the key areas that have been identified as desperately needing in Bedfordshire. Young people with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate, are much more likely to have additional long term health problems and find it hard to build social relationships. This can reduce a young person’s capacity for finding creative and adaptive solutions to life’s challenges. All of these factors are known to have a negative impact putting them at greater risk of developing mental health problems, getting involved or becoming victims of crime. In fact they are over six times more likely to have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder than their peers who do not have learning disabilities.
With young people leaving the four special needs schools and special units each year and 800 children with a learning disability in Bedford Borough alone requiring support, there is a dire need to increase services. The work we will do will increase the limited provision of current services. In turn there is scope to develop and initiate services that are just not available.
Services for young people will include transitional support, personalisation support, social activities, family support, holiday club, work experience, signposting and information services, mental health and well-being.
The appeal is set out in three phases and in total will cost just over 3.77m to complete.
Now complete; concentrated on raising £355,000 with which we purchased the land and gained planning permission.
The current phase will raise £2.76 m to build the new centre.
To the equipment to fit our the building and refurbish the café and respite flat which we need to raise £655,000.
Financial Projections: Capital building costs
These costs are provided by a Quantity Surveyor. If you require more information please contact us. is available in the appendices or in an 86 page report on request. A detailed inventory of each room / items required for fit out has been drawn up and costed to provide fit out costs, see appendices. We are currently working on reducing the main centres costs.