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Paralympian Louise Sugden returns to Newbury's Speenhamland School to open new Keevill Unit



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A Paralympian has returned to Newbury to open a new unit at her former primary school.

Louise Sugden, who has competed as a wheelchair basketball player and is currently a powerlifter, officially opened the Keevill Unit at Speenhamland School on Tuesday.

After cutting the ribbon Ms Sugden then took part in a question and answer session with pupils from across the school, inspiring them with her Speenhamland story.

Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299737)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299737)

"I’m honoured to be asked to open the brand new Keevill Unit,” she said. “My time as a pupil at Speenhamland, especially within the Keevill, allowed me to be very independent whilst giving me access to any support I needed to learn and get the most from my time at the school.

“It’s a fantastic facility and I’m delighted to see it still supporting children with learning disabilities within West Berkshire.”

The Keevill Unit – a learning space for children with physical disabilities - is part of an £860,000 transformation project at the school, funded by West Berkshire Council.

Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299736)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299736)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299735)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299735)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299603)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299603)

The first phase saw the refurbishment of the Pelican Building into “an inspiring learning environment for early years children”.

It now provides two new classrooms, a designated outdoor learning zone, accessible toilet and hoist for children with physical disabilities and extra indoor and outdoor space for all pupils.

The second phase saw the Keevill Unit relocated and the expanded area now provides two classrooms, a dedicated special educational needs therapy room, an accessible hygiene room, two resource areas/office and a kitchen area.

Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299602)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299602)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299738)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299738)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299739)
Louise Sugden opens the new Keevil unit at Speenhamland School.. (56299739)

Julie Lewry, headteacher at Speenhamland, said: “We are so excited with the opening of the new Keevill unit.

“Our Keevill pupils will definitely benefit from the ample space, modern facilities and specialist equipment. The new area will not only benefit their learning but also their physical development with designated areas for therapy and hygiene.

“We are extremely grateful for the funding and support from West Berkshire Council.”

Dominic Boeck (Con, Aldermaston), West Berkshire’s executive member for children, young people and education, added: “This is a very exciting project that will benefit a great many children as there’s now ample room for the children in Speenhamland’s physical disabled resource to learn and access the specialist provision they need.

“I’m delighted that we were able to support this project, which will enable all pupils at Speenhamland to reach their full potential.”



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