Welcome to the Uplands Educational Trust, a charity set up to provide learning, working and living opportunities to young people with special needs in Swindon and the surrounding areas. We have had a productive and successful year across all of our service areas.
Horizons College continues to advance its range of vocational teaching with the launch of the Supported Internship Programme. The programme teaches our Learners skills transferable to part time or voluntary employment in the local community. The College Learners have also been actively engaged in many social enterprise activities over the past year. This included meeting local MP’s, joint fundraising with local Scout groups and working with REACH to perform a production at the Wyvern Theatre to showcase the Learner’s talent. Learners and Staff, supported by the Rotary Club of Swindon, have worked collaboratively with local businesses on the Bikeathon fundraiser. Through tireless cycling and overwhelming support for the Bikeathon, Horizons College have exceeded their goal and raised an amazing £31702. This will be used to purchase a mini-bus for Horizons College which allow even more learning opportunities. Thank you to all who were involved in this successful fundraising event. Through the outstanding partnership between employers and Horizons College, all learners achieved and made progress towards their individual learning goals whilst developing personal, social, and employability skills.
The UET Charity Shops successfully achieved their sales targets for the year with thanks to the huge support of local residents. We now have five UET charity shops throughout Swindon with three in Gorse Hill, one in Red House and our newest Town Centre shop opening on Regent Street in November 2017. The Regent Street Shop will offer employment opportunities to young adults with SEN. Gorse Hill Baby has also launched a new trainee system to help Learners from Horizons College access work experience. Our Learners helped to serve an incredible 26,051 customers across our shops last year.
The UET Farm provision has been developed this year with the addition of a chicken coop extension, a fitted woodwork barn and a new lawn area for student picnics. The market garden has produced an abundant supply of fruit and vegetables that have been sold alongside pickles and chutneys in our charity shops. These sales have allowed UET to pay for a part-time employee to oversee the animal welfare at the farm and this role is performed by a young adult with autism.
The Community Enterprise Centre has become the base for a new provision called Skills for Life, an age appropriate adult day facility for those concluding education. The UET has improved facilities at the Community Enterprise Centre and so it now offers a catering kitchen accessible to wheel chair users as well as improvements to the garden area. The building has continued to receive support from the local community, with special thanks to the Penhill Street Reps and Community Neighbourhood Wardens.
Maryfield is fully occupied with a vibrant community of learners including 9 College Learners who have been able to move from home into the supported living flats. Residents are able to make friends with each other whilst learning and developing vital life skills. The evening dinner club, where residents make and eat dinner together, is very popular. Residents and non-residents have been enjoying the social and holidays clubs where young people can access a huge range of leisure and social opportunities.
I hope you enjoy browsing our website. If you would like to find out more about the work we do, volunteer for, or donate to the UET – please contact us.
Jackie Smith MBE
CEO - Uplands Educational Trust