Work begins on building new multi-million pound Deaf Academy

PUBLISHED: 12:59 01 March 2019

Cutting the turf for the new Deaf Academy in Exmouth. Picture: Dan Wilkins

Cutting the turf for the new Deaf Academy in Exmouth. Picture: Dan Wilkins

Dan Wilkins

The new building has been designed around the specific needs of deaf people, as 'a vibrant and inspiring place for them to live and learn'..

Celebrating the start of work on the new Deaf Academy, Exmouth. Picture: Dan WilkinsCelebrating the start of work on the new Deaf Academy, Exmouth. Picture: Dan Wilkins

Construction work has officially begun on The Deaf Academy’s multi-million pound new home.

Pupils past and present helped to break the ground at the former Rolle College site in Exmouth to mark the launch of works to create the town’s new deaf academy.

Former student and current academy British Sign Language tutor, Nikki James, along with current pupils Lily, Winston and Hugh broke the ground before handing over the spade to Steve Hindley, the chairman of construction company Midas Group Ltd.

It is hoped the new academy will be open in April 2020.

Nikki James said: “This building is a significant step forward in fighting isolation in deaf children and will bring deaf and hearing communities together.

“We will be taking Exeter Deaf Academy’s rich heritage with us to build upon in Exmouth.

“It’s an exciting future for a connected deaf and hearing community.

“Generations of deaf young people will achieve great things on the ground we stand on today.”

Deaf Academy director of development, Steve Morton said: “For two years we have worked in close collaboration with Plymouth-based architects Stride Treglown to apply cutting edge deaf space design principles to our world-class facility.

“This building project has been developed in consultation with deaf people to deliver the very best in education and care.

“The spaces are bespoke to the needs of deaf people and flexible enough to be tailored to every child.

“The building itself will inspire our young people and raise their aspirations.

“The accommodation will provide a true home from home.

“Today, we officially pass the baton to Midas, who without question, are the right project partner for us. Like us, they will not compromise on excellence and we are delighted to have developed a close working relationship with them too.”

CEO and Chairman of Midas Group Ltd, Steve Hindley CBE DL said: “It is a source of immense pride for us at Midas to be involved with this incredible build and to be creating such a bespoke, vibrant and inspiring place for deaf people to live and learn.

“It is a privilege to join with students of the Academy, past and present, to celebrate the start of their new Academy that the whole community will be proud of.

“It will truly benefit deaf people in Devon and across the country.

“On a personal note, I am moved and inspired by the Deaf Academy’s work and I am delighted to pledge my support to the fundraising appeal to help raise the money they need to kit out the new Academy and make it truly world-class.”

Peter Burroughs, Chairman of the Trustees of Exeter Deaf Academy, said: “We firmly believe that with this world-class Academy we can change the face of deaf education.

“What we do in this building will resonate across the UK and further afield, changing the lives of countless young deaf people.

“We have just over one year to go until we open the doors of this unique facility and, as a charity, a special thanks must go to everyone who is fundraising for us. Without your help we would not be able to deliver what these inspiring young people need us to.”

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