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THE Isle of Wight Council and the Isle of Wight College have worked together to successfully secured government funding to provide new educational equipment for learners who have difficulties or disabilities.

A joint bid was submitted to the Education Funding Agency by the council and funds of just under £175,000 was awarded earlier this month.

The money will now be used to create two new facilities at the college. These include a new accessible kitchen to teach independent living skills. In the kitchen will be adjustable tables, low level cookers and sinks, a new eating area and smart board facilities to aid teaching.

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The second new facility will be the creation of a sensory classroom. This will provide an environment where events which focus on particular senses such as feel, vision, sound, smell and taste as well as the more abstract senses of wellbeing, space, time, and togetherness will take place.

The sensory room will feature special sound and visual effects, tactile experiences, vibration and the use of aromas and music in many combinations and variations.

The result is a very special room or space in which the participant can completely relax or interact with and control all the elements and gives users control, which is something they may have found difficult in their lives.

Dawn Cousins, Isle of Wight Council cabinet member responsible for children’s services said “I congratulate officers from both the college and the council who worked together to secure this national funding.

“The Island will now have two fantastic new facilities for people with difficulties and disabilities including a sensory room which can give people the chance to control and influence their surroundings which is very important for their wellbeing. I am sure both facilities will be well used.”

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Isle of Wight College Principal Debbie Lavin says; “One of the driving reasons behind the bid was to ensure we could provide facilities that meant vulnerable people did not have to travel off Island to access facilities that is not readily available here.

“I am delighted the college has worked with the council to secure these funds and look forward to the benefits the facilities will provide to Island learners.”

The bid team included the council’s commissioning manager for 14 – 19 year olds Andrew Briggs, and both Derek Kingsland and Jane France from the college.

Picture: Isle of Wight Council

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