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New independent living accommodation arrives at The Brislington Centre

Students with special education needs (SEN) will be able to learn how to live independently after three new eco-sustainable homes were installed at City of Bristol College last month.

The homes are a joint half-a-million-pound project between the college and Bristol City Council, with the council financing the venture to better support SEN students in Bristol.

Located at the college’s Brislington Centre, the ready-made homes can accommodate up to 13 students at a time, with both existing and new students given the opportunity and support to help develop the skills needed to live independently.

Opened in September 2017, the centre offers a place where students with SEN can stay and learn key life skills from Sunday to Friday. The students return home over the weekend and during college holidays.

The new accommodation also means 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 accommodation.

The three modern living eco-homes consist of two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and a living area.

Living in the homes students will build on their existing cooking, cleaning and budgeting skills, as well as make their own healthy lifestyle choices.

Dedicated centre staff will continue supporting the students at the level that’s suitable to their needs, including employability skills, effective communication, and strategies to aid memory and punctuality.

Assistant Director of SEN and Learning Support at City of Bristol College, Bernadette McGouran, said: “There was nothing like this provision in Bristol until September 2017 which meant young people needing this type of support had to travel out of county.  Having this facility in the city gives young people the chance to develop their skills and confidence in their home city.

“The new accommodation means that our students will still be living on-site at the Brislington Centre but with a friend, close to the main house and support if needed, and with the opportunity to live more independently.  This will prepare them for the next step after leaving the College.

“We hope this will help young people to be more prepared for the real world after leaving the Brislington Centre and will teach them to play an integral part of the Bristol community.”

The on-site construction team will spend the next month working to add the finishing touches to the accommodation, turning them into ready-made homes for students to move into in the New Year.

Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills for Bristol City Council said: “The new homes are a great addition to the Brislington Centre which already provides valuable education opportunities for students with SEN.

“In Bristol, we believe that everyone, regardless of any additional needs, should be able to access education in a way that supports and encourages them. These new eco-sustainable homes will enhance the college’s ability to provide training, education and life skills, helping students to lead independent, adult lives in their communities.”

Three new homes were installed at the centre on Tuesday, 22 October. The trio of residences were built off-site before being lifted by crane onto plots outside the centre.

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