Allchurches helps make Milestone School dream come true

An ambitious project at Milestone School, Gloucester, that will enrich the lives of people with severe and complex needs throughout the county has benefited from a £51,000 grant from Allchurches Trust.

The grant to the Chamwell Centre charity will help fund a new £5.1 million fully inclusive facility at The Milestone School – one of the largest special schools in England with more than 300 pupils.

Allchurches’ grants administrator, Iain Hearn, handed over a commemorative cheque at a recent ‘breaking ground’ ceremony at the school that marked the start of the construction project (see photo below). At the event, pupils from the school also buried a time capsule featuring architects’ plans for the centre and many other items.

The Chamwell Centre will feature a large hydrotherapy pool – replacing the 50-year-old pool which is no longer fit for purpose – a therapy room and equipment, a two-storey soft play and sensory area and a rebound therapy gym with climbing wall and aerial ballet. A ‘Changing Places’ toilet facility will allow people with severe physical disability to use the facilities in comfort and will also allow private hoisted access to the pool.

These facilities will be available to Milestone pupils, but also to people throughout Gloucestershire outside of school hours, including young people with a severe physical disability attending mainstream schools and colleges and adults with severe arthritis, neuromuscular and spinal problems and chronic pain.

A café and resource area will provide opportunities for work experience for pupils, social enterprise schemes and increased opportunities for community engagement, as well as being a fun meeting place for people of all ages.

Allchurches Trust Grants Officer, Paul Playford, said: “The Milestone School has always been passionate about working in partnership to provide the very best care and opportunities for young people with severe and complex needs; not only for its own pupils but those in the wider community.

“The new building will enhance the lives of families throughout Gloucestershire and we’re so pleased to be able to support it, particularly as the school is local to our headquarters and close to our hearts.

“At the heart of Allchurches Trust’s grant-giving is helping those most in need and we were impressed by the far-reaching impact this ambitious project will have. As well as breaking down barriers through community engagement, it will provide therapy and opportunities to be active and learn life and employment skills, but most importantly, it will bring joy.”

Marie Owen, Chair of the Chamwell Centre charity, said: “The Chamwell Centre Charity is delighted to receive this very generous grant from Allchurches Trust and for all the encouragement and support they have given us.

“We look forward to working closely with the Trust in the future as we enter the construction phase of the Chamwell project and draw ever closer to its opening, early in 2020, for the benefit of the Milestone School pupils and all those with severe and complex special needs in Gloucestershire.”

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