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Article by Viv Mason, Craven Herald & Pioneer

Work has started on a £1 million revamp of Brooklands School, in Skipton, which will see building work and new kit invested through the Yorkshire Children’s Charity’s ‘Great Yorkshire Build’ initiative.

Brooklands is a SEND  (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) school which caters for around 80 of the most vulnerable children in the district and beyond.

Outside of home and hospital, the highly respected school is all some of these children know but has been lacking the most basic provisions.

Yorkshire Children’s Charity believes that all children have the right to the very best education, and school facilities have a big part to play. Therefore, The Great Yorkshire Build has been designed to improve outdated, insufficient and inadequate facilities at many of the country’s SILC (Specialist Inclusive Learning Centres) and SEND schools. A spokesman said the project wouldn’t exist without the support of the commercial and residential property sector, who have come together to help young people who need it most.

Amongst these organisations are multiple local contractors including Stainforth Construction, Bowman Riley, GMI and Rex Proctor and Partners who are supporting with the build of Brooklands new and bespoke rebound therapy facility, the refurbishment of the early years’ classrooms and sensory room, and the build of a new bike track and outside play area following the school’s existing outdoor space being rules ‘unfit for use’ by the council.

Rebound therapy sees the use of trampolines to provide therapeutic exercise whilst supporting development in communication through intensive interaction, strength and co-ordination and helping alleviate anxiety. This kind of therapy is beneficial to a wide range of special needs, but in particular for those with autism.

Fran Cracknell, headteacher at Brooklands School said: “All of us here at Broooklands School are incredibly grateful for this generous donation from Yorkshire Children’s Charity and the commercial and residential property sector. Myself and all the staff here are passionate about providing the best possible education and support to our students, and this build is going to help us on our mission to do that”.

The work began last week during half term and will be completed by Easter 2023. It is being meticulously planned to be carried out throughout term time and the school holidays to create the least disruption to the children’s learning and school time.

From a sustainable perspective, Gallant Building Services, which sub-contracts on the rebound therapy construction, will be installing Photovoltaic (PV) materials and devices to allow sunlight to be converted into electrucal energy.

A relatively new charity, Yorkshire Children’s Charity was set up earlier this year with a clear mission to ensure no child or young person is left behind due to ill health, disability or financial circumstance.

Charlotte Farrington, CEO at Yorkshire Children’s Charity said: “We’re thrilled that our first Great Yorkshire Build is underway. Brooklands does amazing work providing education and support to children with complex needs, and we’re proud to be able to help provide the tools and environment they need to carry out their hard work. 

“We believe all children should have access to state-of-the-art school facilities and we’re incredibly grateful to all the contractors who are supporting us in our goal”.