Skip to main content

New funding to transform future of young people with SEND in Plymouth

Young people trying archery
Young people trying archery through the Your Future programme

Plymouth has received more than £1.2 million from the Department for Education to provide new opportunities to 360 young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) throughout the next year.

Plymouth City Council is working with partners across the city, including Routeways, Friends and Families, Eat that Frog, Plymouth Parent Carer Voice, City College Plymouth, Livewell Southwest, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and Plymouth Parent Carer Voice, to support children and young people with short breaks and activities that will improve their health, education and wellbeing.

This includes the Your Future programme which aims to help young people with SEND aged 16 to 25 years into education or employment opportunities by developing a positive mindset and learning independent skills.

This year, Your Future will give 80 young people the chance to take part in a five-week course that incorporates two residentials: an activity week, and a city break away from Plymouth.

The programme, which was piloted last year with 16 young people, is provided by the Council through On Course South West and offers a structured package of employability and skills training with coaching and mentoring.

Councillor Sally Cresswell, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships, said: “Our aim is for Plymouth to be a great place for everyone to grow up, where all children and young people are supported to be happy, healthy and supported to aspire and achieve. This funding is a hugely welcome investment in SEND support services and will enable partners across the city to carry on delivering some absolutely fantastic services that have been co-designed with young people themselves.

“This means that young people with SEND can enjoy new opportunities and activities that help them to achieve their full potential, learning vital new life skills and building their confidence.” 

The funding will enable a huge programme of activity to take place throughout Plymouth, helping to tackle social isolation and supporting hundreds of young people to access activities that give them chance to develop life skills and grow their confidence.

This includes a range of activities run by the Council’s Community Youth Team, including creative workshops, outdoor adventures, residential trips and digital skills development. It will also support the running of different youth groups, including for young people who are neurodiverse and those who identify as LGBTQ+. 

City College Plymouth will deliver its popular Summer Activity weeks which help young people with SEND transition into the college, meeting new friends and building their confidence.

Friends and Families, a local charity which works to empower families with children with a disability, will extend its Duke of Edinburgh Award offer. Funding has helped to purchase equipment and provide new experiences, which means the first group of young people taking part will be able to complete their bronze award by the end of 2024, with plans to undertake additional levels in 2025.

The £1,279,705 of funding is provided through the Department for Education’s short breaks innovation programme and will be used between April 2024 and March 2025. This is the third year of the project, following two years of pilot activity.