Successful Appeal Equips Unique Learning Centre for Students with Disabilities

A unique purpose-built centre, dedicated to learners with learning difficulties and disabilities (LLDD) at Barnet and Southgate College has been equipped with state-of-the-art facilities thanks to a successful fundraising appeal. The LLDD Centre of Excellence was formally opened by former paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson following a campaign targeting trusts and foundations, run by the IFC.

So far, the fundraising campaign has secured £280,000, which has funded equipment including a hydrotherapy pool, a sensory room, a wheelchair-accessible mini-bus, an independent living training flat, a drama studio, catering café and a sports hall with rebound therapy.

Stephen Forster, Director of Finance and Corporate Operations at Barnet and Southgate College said: “Sourcing funding to equip our LLDD Centre was a new area for the college. We didn’t have the expertise in-house to do this; and it’s a process that needs a careful approach, something we really couldn’t have done without IFC. We are well on our way to reaching our target, and I’m convinced that we will exceed it thanks to IFC.”

Seeking fundraising from external sources is unusual for colleges; as such the IFC carried out a feasibility study to make sure that funds and interest in funding such a project existed.

As a sector, colleges have tended not to partake in large-scale fundraising campaigns. However, with ever-reducing statutory budgets, it is now essential for such establishments to reach out to alternative funding sources. The uniqueness of this project really helped with the success of this appeal.

Funding has so far been received from The Thompson Family Charitable Trust, John Lyons Charity, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation and The Sobell Foundation.

The LLDD Centre is the first facility of its type in North London, and one of the best in London, providing specialist education facilities which are totally dedicated to the specific needs of students with learning difficulties. The challenges that these students face throughout their lives are complex and the new centre allows them to learn in a safe environment entirely tailored to their needs.

The inspirational building and facilities helps students to develop vital communication, independent living and work skills to equip them with the best chance of being economically active and building a life in their local communities.