College welcomes Royal visitor on first anniversary

LIVABILITY Millie College in Holton Lee, Poole, welcomed a Royal visitor as it celebrated its first anniversary and set out its vision for the future.

HRH the Princess Royal is patron of the college which supports students aged 16 to 25-plus with barriers to learning, disabilities and complex needs.

She joined 200 guests, including dignitaries, staff, students and their families, and supporters, on Monday, October 9, to learn about the college and its achievements to date.

The college, on a 350-acre countryside site, helps students build confidence and independence with its learning programmes, and supports them on their way to further education, training, volunteering or paid employment.

Students take part in activities in four core areas – horticulture, animal care and welfare, nature conservation, and catering and retail, and the Princess Royal saw sessions involving animals, horticulture, conservation and creative arts.

Staff also showcased plans, including a new sensory aquarium, increased classroom space and plans to develop equine therapy at the college.

The Royal visitor heard about plans to establish a plant nursery

The Royal visitor heard about plans to establish a plant nursery

In the college gardens, the Princess Royal was updated on work to establish a plant nursery, kitchen garden and food forest.

She also planted a Millie rose, to signify the college’s new beginnings, and at a reception spoke about the college’s progress.

After unveiling a plaque commemorating the visit, student James Oswald presented the Princess Royal with a posy of flowers.

Livability chief executive Sally Chivers said: “Since it opened in September 2022, the college has been on an extraordinary journey, fuelled by the passion and dedication of the staff team.

“The event showcased some of the achievements of that first academic year and demonstrated the opportunities created for the young people we support.

“The vision for the future growth is ambitious. We want to expand our provision to meet local demand and provide students with first-class facilities and enriching experiences.

“By working together, with our partners, stakeholders and community, we can realise these ambitions.”

The Princess Royal with college principal Jon Ascot

The Princess Royal with college principal Jon Ascot

Livability executive director for education Adele Audin said: “To put the work of Millie College in context, disabled young people aged 16-18 are at least twice as likely as their non-disabled peers to not be in education, employment or training.

“After leaving school, inequalities continue for those with disabilities, who are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to non-disabled people.

“We create careful stepping stones towards independence. The strands of our curriculum incorporate innovation into learning and ensure the work students do is purposeful and authentic, the skills are real and desirable by employers.”

Since opening in September 2022, Livability Millie College has doubled its student numbers and anticipates further growth to meet demand.

College principal Jon Ascot said: “Livability Millie College was conceived two years ago. We welcomed our first students in 2022 to this beautiful site.

“Today we enjoy the beautiful weather, we enjoy the beautiful site and we celebrate the efforts of all to realise our vision of a well-recognised, high-class provision that is Livability Millie College.”

To coincide with its one-year anniversary, a fundraising drive has been launched to support future projects.

The college has plans for a new moveable classroom, a sensory boardwalk connecting learning zones, a new Ambug to transport students around the college and to renovate the stables.

To discuss getting involved with any of the future projects contact

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