UET - Our Story
Uplands Educational Trust, or ‘UET’, is what sets us apart from the rest. We noticed that there were not enough age-appropriate opportunities for SEND young people and adults once their statutory education was over. So beginning in 2012, we decided that we would be the ones to make a difference, we started to create new opportunities to help young people shape their future.
Governed by a knowledgeable board of Voluntary Trustees and run by enthusiastic and passionate staff, UET is constantly developing, expanding and changing. UET currently comprises of Horizons College, five UET Charity Shops, the Community Enterprise Centre (CEC), the UET Farm as well as Holiday and Leisure Clubs. These amazing provisions combined create a 52 week available provision for young people and adults with SEND.
UET is a non-profit organisation, dedicated to improving lives across Swindon by providing meaningful and engaging further education and work experience placements for young people and adults.
The first UET Charity Shop is just behind Uplands School in Redhouse. It was a popular hub that residents and students alike loved to browse. And so the UET leaders thought to themselves – why not open another? 5 years later and there are 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.
UET Farm provision is based in Leigh a few miles outside of Swindon. It offers young people the chance to engage and interact with livestock and learn life skills in health and safety, environmental care, life processes and horticulture.
The farm provision offers a variety of activities for young people with special educational needs including complex learning difficulties. Young people have the opportunity to interact with their peers and the staff while taking part in practical hands on experiences.
The farm is fully inclusive and benefits all users, regardless of their ability. The farm is used regularly by young people with special educational needs including wheelchair users and those with profound and multiple learning difficulties. We have a fully accessible poly tunnel with wheelchair height planters, allowing all users to benefit from the facilities we have. We are also developing alternative communication aids to help our young people who have difficulties with verbal communication.
The UET Farm provision benefits the learner in a variety of ways depending on the needs of the individuals through:
- Responsibility gained from all aspects of animal care
- Feeling a sense of pride through nurturing produce that they are then able to use in their own cooking
- Enhances learning outside of the classroom environment, creating a diverse learning experience
- Freedom to enjoy a sense of space in a safe and secure environment
- Gaining meaningful qualifications such as BTEC in Work Skills
- Learn work related skills such as basic animal care, using farming equipment safely and workshop skills
The farm is home to a growing family of animals from rabbits, guinea pigs, geese, ducks, bantams and chickens to our latest, and very popular, addition of George the pony. Students and trainees partake in grooming, feeding and caring for the animals. Our resident farm dogs Daisy, Lucky, mother and daughter Ruby and Rosie ensure that everyone gets a friendly welcome!
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.