A leading Premier League football club has moved to counter the trend of falling care services for people with learning disabilities by helping establish Enfield’s first purpose-built resource hub and sports centre for young people with special educational needs.
Delivered in partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, the charitable arm of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, the Barnet and Southgate Learning Disabilities Centre of Excellence will provide specialist education facilities dedicated to the specific needs of students with complex learning and physical disabilities.
The pioneering venture will see full and part-time Tottenham Hotspur Foundation staff based at the Learning Disabilities Centre of Excellence through funding from the Premier League and the Professional Footballers Association. The Foundation will also provide a combination of practical and vocational education and sport sessions as well as developing bespoke education, training and enterprise programmes.
As the venue embarked upon its goal of making a life-changing difference to 200 students each year, the first intake of pupils were met by two of Spurs international stars Nabil Bentaleb and Benji Stambouli (pictured). During the visit, Stambouli and Bentaleb took to the sports hall where they were invited by students to play a short game of indoor hockey before being presented with special gifts from the college.
Exciting new partnership David Byrne, Principal of Barnet and Southgate College, said: “We will be working in partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and the Premier League Charitable Fund to provide an inspirational centre of excellence programme that will empower students with learning disabilities, enabling them to reach their full potential and to increase their economic wellbeing within a practical and vocational learning environment.
“It’s an exciting partnership for the College and we are proud of the fact that the new centre of excellence is destined to become the key lead facility for sport and physical activity across North London.”
As a leading facility for sport and physical activity in North London, students will have access to specialist facilities including a hydrotherapy pool, sensory room, physiotherapy facility, rebound room with specialist sports equipment, sports hall, drama room, recreational garden and arts and craft rooms.
The new facilities will help develop vital communication, independent living and work skills to provide students the best chance of becoming economically active in their future life.
Grant Cornwell, CEO of Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, added: “As an inclusive organisation, we know only too well how people with learning disabilities can flourish with the right expertise, help and support behind them. For many young people, having access to specialist facilities like this is fundamental to growing as an individual.
“We’re very proud to be officially opening the new Centre of Excellence and to be providing life-changing opportunities for disabled people, supporting them on to innovative education, training and employment pathways alongside the development of inclusive disability sports.”