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Farleigh College Frome students help transform East European orphanage

12 young learners from Priory Education Services’ Farleigh Further Education College Frome, a college for students with learning disabilities, have returned from a trip to Bulgaria where they helped transform the environment and gardens at an orphanage.

The young people gave up two weeks of their summer break in order to give the orphanage in Berkovitsa, North West Bulgaria, a much-needed makeover.

The 16 to 21-year-olds, with a range of learning difficulties and/or disabilities, helped plaster and paint walls, including creating images of Mickey Mouse and a ‘Jungle Book’ scene to brighten up a number of corridors. They also repaired swings in the grounds, refurbished benches, repaired wooden steps and repainted the entrance gates.

The trip, which was part of a work experience initiative, also allowed the students to attend a careers seminar and take part in Bulgarian language lessons, which proved very useful whilst on the trip.

Alun Maddocks, college principal said, “This trip has proved to be educational, life enhancing and inspirational for those who took part, and has certainly made them all value the facilities at Farleigh Further Education College Frome. They now really appreciate how fortunate they are to have a structured daily timetable, and everyday items such as washing powder and toothpaste readily available.

“We provide our young people with programmes of education, care, work experience, leisure and life skills and training within the community, to enable them to live as independently as possible.

“Our aim is to help our students develop the confidence and skills they need to progress towards adulthood, including further or higher education and sustainable independent living in the community, and this trip has certainly had a real impact on the skills and experiences of all the students who took part.”

Farleigh Further Education College Frome is an independent specialist residential college for young people aged 16 to 25 with autistic spectrum disorders, Asperger syndrome and associated needs.

The college has six residential houses in the community, each with its own identity, working ethos and dedicated team of staff. This provides learners with the opportunity to experience independent living in a range of different settings.