Uplands Enterprise Trust (UET) is a Swindon based charity that helps young people with disabilities help themselves. UET is led by a knowledgeable board of voluntary Trustees and run by enthusiastic, skilled and creative staff. The Trust is constantly developing, expanding and changing to improve the lives of disabled young people within Swindon and surrounding areas.
This unique charitable trust was set up in response to the need for meaningful opportunities for disabled young people once education ends. In reality most young people with special educational needs leaving education at 19 embarked on a life of leisure for the remainder of their adult lives. The early retirement option was not welcomed by the young people or their families who had worked extremely hard in partnership with their child’s school to prepare them for a purposeful life contributing to their local community.
UET was created to ensure that this aspiration to be valued by and contribute to the local community was realised for young people with disabilities, regardless of the barriers caused by their disabilities.
Leading to the creation the UET vision and mission:
Our shared vision
Helping young people with disabilities to help themselves
Our Mission is to…
Create living and working opportunities
Enable meaningful lives
The beginning the Charity shops…
UET was born in 2012 with a clear ambition to provide meaningful and purposeful skill based opportunities to enable these young people to gain transferable skills that should benefit the community, provide them with sound work ethics and a sense of worth and belonging. UET wanted to make a difference to their life choices and outcomes and began by creating the opportunities to help shape their future.
This ambition started with 1 small charity shop …
The Redhouse shop opened in November 2012 just behind Uplands school, a great location for the students to access and assist in all aspects of retail. More shops followed and we now have a specialist baby and children’s shop, a boutique and our flagship store in the Brunel centre in Swindon.
Then Horizons College …
The college opened in September 2013 a community-based specialist college offering educational opportunities for students over 19 years old with a wide range of special needs. The college played a major role in the UET’s development, however, following the launch of the Brunel SEN Multi Academy Trust (BSM), Horizons will transfer to BSM to join its educational partners.
What about a Farm …
The UET farm at South Leigh offers the young people the chance to engage and interact with livestock and learn life skills in health and safety, environmental care, life processes and horticulture. Being fully inclusive, the farm enables all our young people to interact with peers and staff while taking part in practical, hands on experience regardless of their ability. Our poly-tunnel with wheelchair height planters, fully equipped workshop and selection of small mammals through to chickens, a pony and the farm dogs provide a varied and friendly environment.
Then UET developed even further to ensure they gave young people Skills Forever …
Skills for Life
Launched in 2014 at our Community Enterprise Centre in Penhill, Skills for Life offers an engaging and varied day facility. The CEC offers a wonderful catering kitchen, a garden which is also home to our rabbit Jessie, sensory room and function room for group activities. Life Skills are encouraged so shopping for catering supplies along with the cooking and cleaning up is as part of the day as using the washing machine. Relaxation with the help of sensory sessions are as popular as the up- beat discos and age appropriate craft activities.
Skills for Work
Autumn 2019 was the beginning of a new provision for UET - Skills for Work. We recognised that not everyone was ready for a work place after education and not all were suited to the Skills for Life offer and so Skills for Work was launched to provide tailored work skills. The provision offers training in electrical testing (PAT), online selling, administrating, caring, catering, logistics, recycling, horticulture, customer service and lots more. The young people receive interview and CV support and have the opportunity to aim for volunteer, paid employment or self-employed roles.
Holiday and Saturday clubs have always been a popular feature of UET. We have revamped and relaunched the offer in 2019 to accommodate a Saturday club for 11 -17 year olds as well as 18+ on alternate weekends. The Summer club offer has a fabulous mixture of fitness, craft, visits, drama and music.
UET now and the future
One of the strengths of the UET is to keep evolving, we listen to the young people that we work with and create new opportunities to help support them. The UET was once ‘Learning, Working, Living’ but due to the success and demand for placements at Horizons college the ‘learning’ area of the UET are now moving over to the Brunel SEN Multi Academy Trust to enable Horizons to be working with other educational focused partners. The UET will continue to work closely with Horizons with the supporting and transitioning of their learners into the work place and through their college work-based placements.
UET is currently made up of five areas, Skills for Life, Skills for Work, Farm, Retail and Clubs. This combination aims to deliver a post education offer as well as work experience to our partners within the Brunel SEN MAT. All areas have growth plans for the coming years with exciting developments planned to ensure our offer continues to be innovative.