A brand new venture has been launched in Louth to support young people with additional needs make the transition from school into adult life - the first of its kind in East Lindsey.
The new project, called ‘The Avenue’, is based at the community youth centre in Park Avenue and aims to support young people with additional needs from the age of 19, helping them to gain independence and fulfil their aspirations and goals.
The venture is being run by the Lincolnshire Wolds Community Trust (LWCT) and Lincolnshire Wolds Federation (LWF), which operates St Bernard’s School in Louth and St Lawrence’s School in Horncastle.
The Avenue will be open three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) to start with, although the Chief Executive Officer at the LWCT, Lea Mason, hopes that provision will extend to five days a week as need increases.
Speaking about the importance of the new facility, Ms Mason told the Leader: “For us, it’s about supporting aspirations for our young people.
“The focus is on life skills, communication, building relationships, community engagement, work life - whatever it might be.”
Ms Mason said that such skills and ‘person-centred’ activities include shopping, cookery, meal preparation, swimming, independent travel, drama, gardening, and health and well being.
The official opening day took place on Monday (November 14).
Ms Mason said it was a ‘really busy day’, and added: “We’re really pleased. We’ve had a lot of support and engagement, and a lot of people have come along.”
Margaret Reader, who runs the Promoting Independence project and supports providers on behalf of the local authority, attended the opening day.
Ms Reader said that there are similar ‘transition’ sites in Grantham, Lincoln and Stamford, and said: “The Avenue really complements it, being in East Lindsey.”
Deputy Mayor of Louth, Councillor Pauline Watson, also attended the open day, and said: “I’m very impressed with this project. There’s a great need for the 19 to 25 provision.
“This should have always been available, but has not always been readily accessible to the many young adult who are considered, until 25, to be under the protection of the education authority.
“Those who are not necessarily going on to education skills need a place to come to, and this is wonderful and will help promote them and probably enable them to go on to further places in the future.”
• Email Lea.Mason@lwf.lincs.sch.uk to find out more details about The Avenue.