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£1m fundraising bid for student houses

By Sue Austin | Oswestry | Education | Published:

Stories from the past, present and future came together at the launch of a £1 million fundraising appeal at Derwen College, near Oswestry.

Fundraiser Anna Evans at the launch of the appeal

The Gobowen college for young adults with special education needs and disabilities unveiled plans for The Agnes Hunt Village project - a major new fundraising appeal launched byDerwen College Charity to update their supported living bungalow site for young adults with special education needs and disabilities.

The college aims to provide fully accessible bungalows to help develop their independent living skills preparing them for life after college. The plan is to modernise and adapt the properties in The

Agnes Hunt Village - a complex of 28 bungalows which were created in the 1950s following a massive fundraising appeal which generated £80,000 - the equivalent of £2million in today’s money.

The plans unveiled today showed guests of how the bungalows could look. Fully accessible homes with en-suite bathrooms, open plan living areas and eco-technology to create houses that are as energy efficient as possible is the concept.

Agnes Hunt Village

The college said it was was delighted to welcome back families who had had lived in the bungalows when they first opened their doors in 1955. Brothers Bob, David and Andrew Hardy, June Braddick and David Randle all shared childhood memories of growing up in the village which was Dame Agnes Hunt’s legacy.

Three Derwen College students who currently live in the Agnes Hunt Village spoke about what living in the bungalows meant to them. Students Faye Humphries, Sam Innes and Libby Grigg explained how living in the bungalows had helped them to develop their independent living skills.

Faye Humphries said: “I am in my final year at Derwen College and have been in the bungalows for over a year. I like learning to live by myself. I do lots of cooking – I make chicken curry, normal and spicy. With a bit of support from staff I can make the rice too. When I leave college I can take care of myself. I will be leaving next year and am going into supported living in Shrewsbury. I will also be working in a Premier Inn, all because of what I have learnt at Derwen College.”

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Principal Meryl Green spoke to guests about the origin of the Agnes Hunt Village, providing accommodation for people with disabilities.

A resident bungalow

She said: “We shouldn’t underestimate how radical Dame Agnes’ vision was at the time. After 64 years of constant use, this ambitious project ensures that the bungalows remain fit for

purpose for generations to come.”

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Anna Evans appealed to people to spread the word about the fundraising project and asked that everyone donate whatever time, money or skills they could afford.

“Tell everyone what we’re doing. We are fundraising but it’s not all about cash. We have a shopping list of requirements and would be grateful for offers of support from anyone who can help.”

The Shopping List includes items such as kitchens, bathrooms, tiles, flooring and carpets, alarms systems and help with outdoor landscaping.

Read more about the Agnes Hunt Village Project at www.agneshuntappeal.co.uk

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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