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Benji and Nabil open Centre of Excellence for students with learning difficulties

Posted on 26 November 2014  - 14:00

Benjamin Stambouli and Nabil Bentaleb officially opened Enfield's first purpose-built learning resource hub and sports centre for young people with learning disabilities at Barnet & Southgate College.

Nabil and Benji presented with gifts by the collegeBenji and Nabil at the Centre of Excellence

Delivered in partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, the Barnet & Southgate Disabilities Centre of Excellence will provide specialist education facilities dedicated to the specific needs of students with complex learning and physical disabilities.

With the aim of making a life-changing difference to 200 students each year, the facilities will help develop vital communication, independent living and work skills to provide students the best chance of becoming economically active in their future life.

During the visit, Benji and Nabil took to the sports hall where they were invited by students to play a short game of indoor hockey before being presented with special gifts from the college.

The pioneering venture will see full and part-time Foundation staff based at the Learning Disabilities Centre of Excellence through funding from the Premier League and the Professional Footballers Association. The Foundation will provide a combination of practical and vocational education and sport sessions as well as developing bespoke education, training and enterprise programmes.

As a leading facility for sport and physical activity in North London, students will have access to specialist facilities including a hydrotherapy pool, sensory room, physiotherapy facility, rebound room with specialist sports equipment, sports hall, drama room, recreational garden and arts and craft rooms.

Launched in 2006, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation has created over 2.4million life-changing opportunities for disadvantaged people through its education, employment, health, equalities and inclusion and sports development programmes. Over 13,000 opportunities have been delivered to people with disabilities, with this number continuing to rise on both a local and international level.

Grant Cornwell, CEO of Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, said: “As an inclusive organisation, we know only too well how people with learning disabilities can flourish with the right expertise, help and support behind them. For many young people, having access to specialist facilities like this is fundamental to growing as an individual.

“We’re very proud to be officially opening the new Centre of Excellence and to be providing life-changing opportunities for disabled people, supporting them on to innovative education, training and employment pathways alongside the development of inclusive disability sports.”

David Byrne, Principal of Barnet & Southgate College, said: “We will be working in partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and the Premier League Charitable Fund to provide an inspirational Centre of Excellence programme that will empower students with learning disabilities, enabling them to reach their full potential and to increase their economic wellbeing within a practical and vocational learning environment.

“It’s an exciting partnership for the College and we are proud of the fact that the new Centre of Excellence is destined to become the key lead facility for sport and physical activity across North London."

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As part of the afternoon’s celebrations, local artist Furrah Syed unveiled a piece of artwork inspired by the Foundation’s partnership with Barnet & Southgate College. The original painting will hang in the reception area of the new building to signify the College and Foundation’s continued commitment to creating opportunities for young people in the local community.

For more information about the new Learning Disabilities Centre of Excellence please visit - http://www.barnetsouthgate.ac.uk/learning-disabilities-centre