What a proud Derwen College we are! Our 90th birthday has given a real opportunity to look back at our history and to involve our partners throughout our celebrations. And what a pleasure to work alongside our enthused students, trainees and staff as they delve into and explore our history, bringing it to life in the curriculum today.
On the 14th June 1927 Dame Agnes Hunt founded The Derwen Training College where disabled young people were to learn a trade and become as independent as possible. In 1948 Dame Agnes died and left us with an amazing legacy that is Derwen College as we know it today; inspired by her pioneering work we continue her dream.
I am sure Dame Agnes would be more than pleased that in our 90th year there are two hundred and forty six people currently benefitting from learning work and independence skills and several thousand Derwen College graduates have had the opportunity to live with greater confidence and independence.
We are the very proud holders of three consecutive Ofsted outstanding grades for the quality of our education provision. We work hard with local, regional and national groups striving to help others understand the importance of high aspirations for all so that our world moves closer to ‘inclusive’.
Here at Derwen College we have always gratefully benefited from the generosity of supporters.
This ‘giving’ approach has meant that we have been able to protect and grow the quality of our provision.
Donations are documented in our archives right back to 1927 and next year we will be celebrating 55 years registered with the Charity Commission. Just last week we won a local community and business award in the category of Charity of the Year. Being confident in our community helps us to remain strong.
Our commitment to Dame Agnes’ dream has given us the strength to manage the weight of responsibility of 90 years of history – we have thrived on it with the support of many partners!
Whilst Government policy brings change and technology and terminology move on we stay close as a driver, an influencer, an organisation with credibility and expertise – we are a cog in the wheel of change; driving initiatives, lobbying, advising and collaborating. We believe that we hold an important place on the current UK political and social map and we have the ability to adapt and strive in times of inevitable change.
So here we are in our 90th birthday year still inspired and re-energised!
What will we look like when we get to 100 years old? For sure Dame Agnes’ fundamental ideals will remain unchanged and we will have another 10 years of expertise under our belts, but will all young adults really have the opportunity to choose and follow their dreams. We will be playing out our role, the one that Dame Agnes set out for us! What will you be doing?
Let’s look even further beyond… we will be filling our time capsule in this milestone year – something to leave for future generations to open and discover. What will they say about our work? Had we done enough to move the world towards inclusive?
Thank you Dame Agnes Hunt, you left us with an amazing legacy and a worthy challenge!