Innovative Harrogate charity is shortlisted for major award

A programme set up by an innovative Harrogate and Knaresborough charity for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities has been shortlisted for a national award.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 10th June 2022, 3:39 pm
Henshaws student Jessica Pay is guided through a Next Steps taster session by Toby Middleton.
Henshaws student Jessica Pay is guided through a Next Steps taster session by Toby Middleton.

The Next Steps programme works with former and current students from Henshaws Specialist College in Harrogate to access future placements and support a clear transition from college to adult life.

Next Steps has now been shortlisted in the Curriculum Innovation category of the Natspec Awards, now in their third year, which recognise and celebrate innovative practice in the specialist further education sector.

Next Steps Transitions Manager Beth Metcalfe said: ““The aim of the Next Steps Programme is to support young adults to access and explore future provision in a personalised and meaningful way, whilst accessing an enriched programme filled with activities that embed ongoing learning, exploration and self-development.

"The programme is personalised to support each young adult to increase their independence and help them on the path to achieve their personal aspirations.

"Our learners are encouraged to become a leading member of their own transition into adulthood, supported to make choices and decisions that can change their lives forever."

This year the programme has been working with 23 young people, both former and current students, and in the autumn moved from the college to Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough, opening up new possibilities and bringing the students closer to the community than ever before.

The team works with young adults for anything between a term and three years to help them move on from education through discovering what they want to do and what they are capable of, whether that is moving to independent living, supported living, returning to the family home, taking on an internship or voluntary work or doing work experience.

Next Steps Transitions Manager Beth Metcalfe said: “Over the past three years of the programme, we have supported transitions around the country including Leeds, York, Ilkley and, even, Essex.

"We have supported our learners to access future placements at day centres, move into their new living accommodation, continue volunteer positions and continue to access their community in a meaningful and personalised way.

"This year we are currently supporting 20 successful transitions into continued adulthood whilst supporting our learners to be included, valued and heard.

"We are so, so honoured and privileged to be involved in such a huge moment in our learners lives and support them to enrich their own futures, access their full potential and continue to be happy and confident adults.”