The Deaf Academy opened its new adult residential and learning centre called Fearnside House this week.

The Academy moved to Exmouth in 2020 and since then, student numbers have increased significantly, to meet this need, the charity bought and refurbished a nearby property – the former convent in Long Causeway – which now provides a 10-bed residential and learning space for deaf students aged between 19 and 25.

The centre will be named Fearnside House, in honour of Anita Fearnside, a resident of Exmouth who left a significant legacy to the charity, which contributed to the purchase of the property.

Sylvan Dewing, Principal of the Deaf Academy, said: “It has been wonderful to open the doors of our new centre and welcome students. Thank you to our donors who made this possible. Working with South West Norse and Mercury Construction the building has been refurbished to the same high-quality standard as the Academy and adapted to make it suitable for our Deaf students.”

“As an extension to our campus, Fearnside House will give our young adults the adult environment and support they need to prepare them for their next steps into independent living and employment.

The Academy has developed a new post-19 curriculum that helps students to develop their skills, whilst having a strong focus on preparing for employment and for adulthood.

Sylvan added: “It’s our aim to help our students become confident and independent, proud of who they are. We want them to contribute positively to our community and we believe we can help them to access the world of work or further education. Our incredible new 19-25 adult residential and learning centre can help us do just that.”

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