New eco-sustainable homes built

Sun 5 January 2020, 4:47 pm

Three new eco-sustainable homes have been installed at City of Bristol College to help students with special education needs to learn about independent living.

The flats, at the college’s Brislington Centre, are part of a joint £500,000 project between the college and Bristol City Council to provide accommodation for up to 13 students at a time.

The three new homes, which were built off-site and installed at the end of October, allow students with special educational needs (SEN) to learn key independent living skills from Sunday to Friday, before returning home for weekends and college holidays.

The new homes come with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living area, and student residents are encouraged to develop their cooking, cleaning and budgeting skills, as well as make their own healthy lifestyle choices.

Dedicated Brislington Centre staff are on hand to support the students, offering employability skills, effective communication, and strategies to aid memory and punctuality.

The college's assistant director of SEN and learning support, 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.”

Once finishing touches have been applied to the new flats, students are expected to move in in the new year.

Councillor Anna Keen, the council's cabinet member for education and skills, 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.”