An acclaimed West Leeds special school has moved into the historic Sunny Bank Mills complex in Farsley.
The Post-16 department of the West Leeds Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre (West SILC) is now based in the recently renovated Mending Rooms at Sunny Bank.
Rob Lakewood, of West SILC, explained: “The post 16 department of our school has been based in Farsley at Springfield Commercial Centre for the past six years, which has been perfect for developing our pupils’ confidence, road safety and employability skills.
“The Mending Rooms represent the next step in our journey. This space is our employability setting, developing key skills in specific job sectors that give our young people genuine opportunities to work towards employment.
“Being based in the heart of Farsley enables our pupils to take full advantage of all the amazing opportunities the village can offer our young people. Having previously worked on an exciting project with the Sunny Bank Mills Archive, we have a great insight into what Sunny Bank can offer us.
“Facilities such as the Mill Kitchen, Grumpy’s, Amity Brew and Scrap Creative have enabled us to show our students how we can give them aspirational opportunities.
“I’d like to thank John and William Gaunt, the co-owners and managing directors of Sunny Bank Mills, who have been so supportive of our school and our students. Having first spoken to John over three years ago, he was kind enough to put us in touch with the mills’ Archive and run a careers session about Sunny Bank Mills for our young people.”
John Gaunt welcomed the move. He said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome West SILC to Sunny Bank. They have played a pivotal role in our Archive project, called Weaving the Web, which has created a special online collection. This currently features 50 unique objects from our Archive that can now be viewed from every angle, thanks to 360-degree photography.
“I am full of admiration for the innovative and ground breaking approach Rob and the West SILC team have towards preparing their young people for life beyond their school. I am happy that Sunny Bank Mills and its community can contribute to that journey. In turn, they will add a new dimension to our community and the ongoing regeneration of the mills.”
During the past ten years Sunny Bank Mills has been transformed into a modern office and mixed-use retail and leisure complex for the 21st century, welcoming 100 new companies and creating 400 sustainable new jobs.
While the majority of Sunny Banks Mills is occupied, four spaces are available very soon, 1768 sq ft at the Spinning Mill, 977 sq ft in the 1912 Mill and 556sq ft in The Old Engine Rooms. The letting agent for these offices is Sarah-Jayne Lishman of boutique Leeds property consultancy Dove Haigh Phillips. Contact 0113 457 5551.