I was lucky enough to be invited to visit the Learning for Life Centre in Herbert Street Consett which opened recently.
The new centre has and is being adapted from old school premises to provide classrooms and large indoor and outdoor areas to accommodate it’s learners for education and care in the centre of Consett.
Learning for Life is a specialist provider of education and day care for adults with high support needs, special educational needs or disabilities and has been operational on No.1 Industrial Park for a number of years.
I was overwhelmed by the welcome I received from both staff and students as I melted into the wonderful caring atmosphere provided for these young people. It was obvious to me on arrival that this was a hive of activity and I was delighted to meet a band of hungry participants who had just returned from playing football at the sports centre.
Although there is now a 30 year lease on the property and it boasts a new kitchen which prepares delicious lunches for all, there is still a long way to go before all the dreams for Herbert Street can be fulfilled.
After speaking to the Principal Marie Matthewson it was obvious that a daily search for funds is paramount to maintain and develop the plans to build, equip and furnish an enterprise workshop, creative arts centre and outdoor area; alongside refurbishing a sensory and a quiet room. All this can only improve and enhance the wonderful learning and magnanimous environment which already exists, however the projected cost is in advance of £150,000.
Many of the young people who attend are wheelchair users and the charity feels ‘we are in desperate need of a 17 seater mini bus in order for them to be included in the diverse society we live in.’
Through constant fundraising they have managed to reach the £17.000 mark but the total cost of the minibus will be £35.000.
The centre which has committed, highly trained and skilled staff is not only looking for financial support but also for volunteers who can give some of their spare time, skills and life experience to support this worthwhile charity in our area.
Recently the learners attended an annual prom hosted by Ushaw College, while two athletes competed with Gateshead in the Special Olympics in York.
I would encourage anyone to visit and find out more about Learning For Life in Consett as it does exactly what it strives to do – Embracing Diversity & Enriching Lives
To find out more about this local enterprise please contact the following:
Learning for Life – Herbert Street 01207 509936