New school helps build bright future for children with autism

A NEW independent school dedicated to helping children with autism has opened in Saddleworth.

Bright Futures, initially located on Oldham Road, Grasscroft, is now operational on Friezland Lane, Greenfield.

The building is the culmination of an 18-months project involving school founder Zoe Thompson and family-owned cleaning manufacturer, Robert Scott, who funded the scheme.

More than £1 million has been invested in the building, which comprises 15 classrooms for one-to-one education, sensory and medical rooms, kitchen and dining areas, a reception area, staff room, outdoor space and on-site parking.

Fundraising continues by Friends of Bright Futures to provide an outdoor learning and play environment to encourage active movement and exercise for the pupils, overlooking the scenic views of Greenfield.

The school also hopes to buy a storage shed and install planting beds so students can grow their own fruit and vegetables.

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held later this summer to allow time for both staff and students to settle into their new surroundings.

Zoe established the original school with late husband Dixon Milburn, as an independent school dedicated to helping children with autism from ages five up to 16.

“It has been a very busy week as we unpack and move into our new school,” said Zoe.

“We already feel at home. It just feels right. Words cannot describe how happy and grateful we feel at the moment,” added Zoe after a return to Saddleworth from temporary accommodation in Greenacres.

In April 2018, the school was informed its rented premises were to be sold.

In June 2018, Daniel Scott, operations director at Robert Scott, learned of their predicament and visited Zoe and the team.

Following consultation with its board of directors, Robert Scott offered to fund the build of a new school for Bright Futures on vacant land opposite its Greenfield mill.

Daniel said: “As a local business, it’s extremely rewarding to see the children and staff of Bright Futures move into their new premises and make it their own.

“We are very proud of everyone who has been involved with this project and the hard work they’ve put in to finish the project so quickly.

“We look forward to seeing the children flourish as they settle in.”

Chartered architectural technologists Whittaker Design were chosen to create the design of new premises to meet the specific nature of its requirements and allow the school to increase its capacity to 15 students.

Oldham-based Medlock FRB Limited built the new school.

For more information or to make a donation, please visit Friends of Bright Futures on Facebook.

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