In March, members of the ILS head office team were delighted to be invited to Treloar’s to learn more about their work with young people with physical disabilities, and how our support has made a difference to their sports teams.
Treloar’s started in 1907 when the then Lord Mayor of the City of London, Sir William Purdie Treloar, set up a fund in his mayoral appeal to build a hospital and school outside the city for children with non-pulmonary tuberculosis. In 1908, Sir William opened his school and hospital in the stunning countryside of Alton, Hampshire.
Since that day, Treloar’s has kept strong links with the City of London. Each Lord Mayor automatically becomes a trustee of Treloar Trust. The Lord Mayor makes an annual visit to Treloar’s, and each year, Treloar’s stages an event in the Egyptian Hall at Mansion House, while Treloar students perform in the presence of the Lord Mayor or his representative.
The Trust today provides education, therapy, medical support and independence training to young people with physical disabilities from all around the UK and overseas. Their aim is to prepare these young people for adult life, giving them the confidence and skills to achieve their full potential.
We arrived at Treloar’s on a rainy Wednesday morning, and were immediately struck by the vast size of the campus. Encompassing a non-maintained Nursery and School (from 2 to 19 years), and College (from 16 to 25 years), the campus also has extensive sports facilities, and a number of self-contained fully accessible and adapted ground floor flats for students to live in to encourage independent living skills. We were shown the vast library, dining areas, shop, and café. For older students, the site has a ‘chill out room’, bar, and social areas.
A key focus of Treloar’s is enabling students to achieve their full potential in terms of independent living. Their curriculum includes work experience for students across the different departments such as their fully functioning print enterprise shop which provides printing services to hundreds of local businesses and customers.
We were delighted to be able to attend a maths class and chat to the students. Each student has their own, purposely adapted work space which gives them access to the exact tools they need to be able to learn efficiently, such as eye gaze technology or special switch access.
Within Treloar’s there is a whole department dedicated to using engineering, computing and electronics to enable students to achieve their full potential. Stepping into the Assistive Technology office is like stepping in to the office of Q in James Bond – a labyrinth of gadgets and gizmos which have been invented specifically for individual students in order to enable them to take part in every aspect of school and college life.
ILS have been very privileged to be able to provide the Treloar’s sports team with kits, and we were delighted to meet Kim Smith from the school sports department. Kim is a keen athlete and goes above and beyond to ensure that all students, regardless of the extent of their disability, are able to participate in sports during their time with Treloar’s. This ethos has resulted in a number of Treloar’s students becoming Paralympians – with a number of students taking part in Rio 2016 and looking forward to taking part in Tokyo 2020.
We would like to thank Treloar’s for a very informative and enjoyable visit, and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.