The Mayor of Bristol cut the ribbon on City of Bristol College’s new half-a-million-pound eco-apartments project at its Brislington Centre on Monday 28 September 2020.
Mayor Marvin Rees joined Bristol City Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Principal and Chief Executive of City of Bristol College, Andy Forbes, and students at the Brislington Centre’s eco-apartment grand opening.
The eco-apartments are complete with two bedrooms, a living space with cooking and washing facilities and a bathroom. The homes are a joint project between the college and Bristol City Council, with the council financing the venture to better support special educational needs (SEN) students in Bristol.
The Brislington Centre is managed in partnership with Bristol City Council and offers week-day accommodation for up to 13 students with SEN. The centre’s team support the students to develop skills for independent living, including cleaning, cooking, washing as well as learning how to budget and use public transport.
The three new eco-apartments were first installed in October last year and the first City of Bristol College students have taken up residence.
The homes will act as a stepping stone for the Brislington Centre students to live independently in their own living space.
The new accommodation will mean the students who have been residents at the centre for a number of years will have the chance to further develop the skills they have learned and the opportunity to move out of the residential house and into their own living quarters as a prerequisite for living completely independently after college.
At the opening, Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: “I am delighted to open the new eco-apartments at the Brislington Centre, Bristol’s first educational residential training centre for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), today, as part of Project Rainbow.
“Before 2017 facilities like this did not exist in Bristol; together, with families, young people and the City of Bristol College, we have worked to make sure that our young people with SEND have access to education and training opportunities, while being supported to live independent and meaningful lives in their communities.”
Mayor Rees and guests at the opening were given a tour of the three new facilities, which sit opposite the main living building.
City of Bristol College Principal and Chief Executive, Andy Forbes, said: “The work of these fabulous new eco-apartments underlines our commitment as Bristol’s Further Education College to meeting as wide a range of educational needs as possible. The opportunity for young people with disabilities to live a full and independent life is great for them, great for their families and creates a really inclusive local community.”
The Brislington Centre was opened in September 2017 and offers a place where students with special educational needs can stay and learn key life skills from Sunday to Friday. The students return home over the weekend and on college holidays.
Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Lead for Education and Skills, said: “Having a modern facility like this in the city means our young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have the opportunity to develop their skills and confidence in a supportive environment, while being able to live independently in their local community.
“In Bristol, we believe that everyone, regardless of any additional needs they may have, should be able to access education in a way that supports and encourages them, and the new eco-apartments at the Brislington Centre are a great example of this.”