Andover Young People Community Education News Local News

“A dream come true” Finally young people with learning difficulties can study in Andover

The Andover community has waited years for there to be vital learning for students with moderate /severe learning difficulties over the age of 18. This September, students will be able to access Andover College to develop life skills, and grow their independence, however with this fantastic opportunity comes a price and the community have reached out for financial support to help purchase some of the vital equipment needed to enable this project to move forward.

Parents are thrilled that their adult children are finally able to study “in their own community” at Andover College. A group of local Andovrarians, made up of enthusiastic parents, teachers and the college have got together and been working hard behind the scenes to make this much needed service a reality for many.

Speaking to Andover Radio 95.5fm, Joanne Tagett, mother to Josh said “For many years us parents have dreamed of having a local college for our special needs young adults to attend instead of having to travel hours a day to attend a suitable course.

“Thanks to the hard work of a wonderful parent Tracey Allen, mum to Jasmine(who has Retts syndrome), and Suzie Oostendorp their fantastic teacher, our dream is finally about to happen in September! We are so excited! So much hard work has gone into this!”

Despite the go ahead for course the group are desperately trying to raise funds to equip the college with the resources they will need to run the course effectively. Kitchen utensils, seating areas, outdoor equipment, and sensory equipment to meet the student’s individual needs are just some of the resources required.

Joanne, who is a member of #Needstoo, which was set up by a local group of parents who were determined to try and make a difference and be a ‘Voice for the Most Vulnerable’ explained to Andover Radio “Being local would mean so much for our kids and to us as parents. Any help would be so appreciated! A crowdfunding page has been set up to help, we would be so grateful for anything anyone could help with to give these wonderful young adults the best start to their college life.”

The #NeedsToo group, which was originally set up due to the frustration parents suffered due to the “severe lack of respite provided for special needs children in the area” have recently hosted a Prom night (pictured) at Aprils Farm for those who were unable to have a school prom last year due to Covid-19. They aim to provide practical and emotional support, advice and information for parents and carers of children and young adults with complex learning difficulties and disabilities.

This course has been ‘long awaited’ by students, staff and parent’s. Jane Hayward, member of #NeedsToo posted “We are so excited but just need some funding to help equip this fabulous opportunity”

The crowdfunding page has raised £1,885 at the time of print and are aiming for £3000.