We provide a safe, dignified and fulfilling experience for our students…but we want to do an even better job! There is no room for expansion at our Vineyard site, but the facilities are well maintained and of a good standard. At our Greenbanks site, however, the current facilities are woefully out of date.
There are currently two wooden buildings there that provide accommodation for arts and crafts, media and photography, and life skills classes. There is a small kitchen for preparing light refreshments, toilets and a lobby for storing outside clothes and shoes. The media and photography room has to double up as the canteen for lunch and refreshment breaks. The toilets are inadequate and there are no shower facilities. The huts are poorly insulated and at the end of their natural life.
Continuing to make do and mend is not a viable long term solution.
We have secured planning permission to create four new interconnected ‘pavilions’ at Greenbanks. Each will have its own character to reflect its usage.
- The Amenity Pavilion will provide the central hub for all activities, including a new shared space that will be used for breaks and meals, as well as special events such as film shows. The building will also have a quiet room, staff facilities and a shower room.
- The IT and Design Pavilion will have two classrooms with a shared entrance and toilet.
- The Art Pavilion will have two classrooms with a shared entrance and toilet and features a saw-tooth roof that will allow more natural light into the building.
- The Horticulture Pavilion is a single classroom for horticulture students.
The estimated final cost is around £2 million (including fit out and equipment) if our proposals are completed under one contract. The Fifth Trust has already committed £75,000 of its resources to the project and is now actively fundraising locally and nationally.
The project will deliver a much improved and sustainable facility that reflects best practice in the operation of learning environments for adults with learning and physical difficulties. It will also enable us to increase our student numbers by at least 20%. The additional income this will generate will contribute to the long term development and sustainability of the Trust and its work.
- A healthier environment for both students and staff.
- Improved facilities that reflect current best practice, helping students to learn new life skills and build confidence.
- More space, enabling the Trust to help more adults with learning difficulties across the district.
- Enhanced contact between students and the wider community.
- Better support for adults with dementia, helping them to enjoy healthier, happier and more fulfilled lives.
- Higher income, which will enhance the charity’s long term viability.
- Sustainable and environmentally efficient buildings that will reduce the Trust’s carbon footprint and maintenance and utilities costs.
- Increased employment in a rural area.
We are delighted that the acclaimed TV and film actress Pam Ferris has agreed to be an ambassador for our fundraising campaign.
Pam has appeared on TV in The Darling Buds of May, Rosemary and Thyme and Call the Midwife, and in the films Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men and Matilda.
Pam Ferris says: “I’m lucky to have the garden centre and tea rooms as part of my community. They are great places for anyone to visit, but the more I learn about their underlying purpose, the more I want to help.”
Pam Ferris formally launched our £2 million appeal on 9 September 2016. She was accompanied by her husband and fellow actor Roger Frost.
Elham resident Pam welcomed invited guests to the launch and unveiled a model detailing the charity’s plans, which she had personally worked on with some of the students over previous weeks.
Additional tours hosted by Pam were offered to local residents in November 2016, so that they could hear about our plans first-hand.
How you can help
We are approaching trusts and grant making bodies, including the National Lottery, and have already raised more than £300,000… but we have a long way to go to reach our £2 million target!
Your help and support is vital to demonstrate to potential funders that we have strong support from student families, supporters and the local community. Please give what you can to the appeal and urge your friends and families to do the same. Thank you!
Please specify Greenbanks Appeal when making your donation. Go to our Donations page.