Students look to the future at transition event
National Star students explored their options for life after college at a hands-on transition event.
Video credit: Thanks to Lexian Porter – Whizz-kidz, Craig Tucker – Kingfisher Treasure Seekers, Rob Lott – Calvery Trust, Exmoor, Laura Bolton – Barnwood Trust, Jean Thomson – See Ability, Debbie – Cheltenham Animal Shelter, Gerry Fouracres – Scrubditch Care Farm, Gemma Ridley – Care Management Group, Jenny Rutter – Active Gloucestershire
Held at National Star’s campus in Ullenwood, Cheltenham, on Thursday 30 March, the event featured 45 diverse exhibitors from across the country. From social landlords, law firms and inclusive leisure providers to support services and charitable foundations, the organisations provided a ‘one-stop-shop’ of information and guidance, enabling students, parents and carers to build contacts and prepare for a post-education future. In addition to the exhibitors, free confidential benefits advice clinics were run throughout the day and Stagecoach offered bus travel sessions in partnership with National Star’s LiftTraining team.
Laura Bolton, Research Assistant at Barnwood Trust and one of the exhibitors on the day, said that transition events could help people with disabilities make the move from supported education to life in the wider community.
‘It’s very difficult to go from somewhere like National Star College – where you are very supported and facilities are around – to the real world where that’s not necessarily the case. People can find out what services are out there, find out that they’re not on their own when they leave, that there are other things in the world that they can get involved in and that the communities are out there to support them.’
‘It’s really important to have all of these organisations in one place,’ added Gerry Fouracres, Care Farm Manager at Scrubditch Care Farm, a charity that provides farming-based activities for young people with disabilities. ‘It’s a really good chance to find out what’s available and to be able to access all the things that are there and often quite hidden.’
The event also enabled service providers to demystify opportunities that are available for young people with disabilities.
Rob Lott, Head of Communications at Calvert Trust Exmoor, an accessible outdoor adventure centre, said:
‘It helps expand horizons. You can get an idea of “wow – there’s lots of different things I could possibly do.” You might not know about the things on offer if you didn’t come to an event like this.’
From day one National Star works with young people with disabilities and their families to put together a plan for life after college. Whether they choose to forge better links with their community, continue in education, move into a new home or enter paid or voluntary employment, individuals are supported to make informed choices. National Star’s long-term accommodation services – available in Gloucester and Malvern, short breaks and respite care can all be accessed by young people after college.