PEACE campaigner Colin Parry has welcomed plans for a new £5.4m Special Educational Needs hub at Warrington’s pioneering Peace Centre, built as a memorial to the two boys killed following a terrorist attack on the town in 1993.
The decision by Warrington Borough Council, will help secure the future of the building, created as a living memorial to Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball, who both died as a result of the IRA bomb attack on the town.
There had been a question mark over the future viability of the building.
Colin said: ” We started holding talks last November which to me seems a long process, but to be fair this has been a quick decision by the council.
“What with COVID, the youth club moving out it had left us on a cliff edge financially.
“While the fine details still need to be ironed out, the council has agreed to lease and adapt the building and we will sublet some space so we can carry on our work from here.
“The building has been vastly underused since COVID and most of our work is now done on location at the schools and organisations we work with.
Colin added; ” I think it is very appropriate that the building will continue to support young people.”
The Peace centre was the idea of Wendy Parry, following the loss of the couple’s 12-year-old son Tim, alongside three-year-old Johnathan Ball.
The dedicated space at the Peace Centre will be created for young people aged 16 and over with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
The project was approved at a meeting of Warrington Borough Council’s cabinet last Monday, June 13.
The new hub will deliver the local offer for young people with SEND post 16 years, which is currently based at Woolston Learning Village, alongside a new service offer that will be developed for those aged 19 to 25 with SEND.
The council supports young people with SEND up to the age of 25 to ensure that they are prepared for adulthood. The project aims to improve the journey from children’s services into adulthood for young people with SEND, their families, and their carers.
It is recognised that some young people may need more support and training to enable them to gain employment or to live independently over a longer period of time. The new hub will therefore provide support to those aged 16 to 25 to help them to:
· Gain paid employment
· Live independently
· Take an active role in their communities
· Be as healthy as possible
Demand for services for young people with SEND has increased considerably in Warrington, which has resulted in the use of out-of-area services. Having an appropriate local offer in Warrington will ensure that there will be less risk to family and friendship networks breaking down, while ensuring that the connection to local health and social care provision remains strong.
Cllr Sarah Hall, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is an exciting project that will see the transformation of the services we provide for our young people with SEND.
“The lack of a fully coordinated local service offer for young people aged 16 to 25 can make accessing care and support extremely challenging for them and their families. The new hub, located at the Peace Centre, will provide more young people with the support they need as they move into adulthood.
“I’m delighted that the project has been approved so that we can work together to ensure we have the facilities and services to support young people to thrive and live independent and happy lives.”