Rotherham College’s Rother Valley campus in Dinnington has received more than £500,000 to improve services for autistic youngsters.
The college will redevelop an existing library space and courtyard area to create an Employability and Progression Centre, as well as a quiet study and respite area.
The funding for the new facilities has come from a successful joint bid for £513,374 made by the college and Rotherham Council from the second round of the Government’s Demographic Growth Capital Fund.
It will replicate the facilities in Dinnington which already exist at the college’s town centre campus.
The new facility will see the development of social enterprise activity, such as horticulture, retail and hospitality and catering. This will enable the students to undertake training in a range of vocational areas, which prepares them for moving into employment but which is carried out within a closely supported environment.
The Gateway area will be used to provide a quiet study area and also a respite area for students who have high anxiety, are susceptible to sensory overload or who experience a crisis point. Computer technology will be available and will enable students to continue to study until they reach the point where they feel able to return to their classroom.
Principal Gill Alton welcomed the fantastic news.
“This is a great outcome and demonstrates the excellent partnership working between the local authority and the college,” she said.
“The work will be completed in the autumn term this year.”
“Initially, students will be placed on programmes within the Progression Centre and will then be supported to move on to programmes across the college once they are familiar with the vocational environments.”
“They will then be supported on this programme through the ASD Centre and Employability Hub to enable progression to employment, traineeship and apprenticeship outcomes.”
Coun Paul Lakin, cabinet member for children and young people services for Rotherham Council, described it as ‘excellent news.’