A college for young people with learning disabilities in Northumberland has been bought by a national firm.
Dilston College near Corbridge, which is currently owned by Mencap, has been acquired by The Cambian Group, a provider of specialist care and education, which has promised investment in the site.
The further education college, which caters for young people with complex needs, was put up for sale by Mencap last June, along with two other sites owned by the learning disability charity.
It launched a consultation with staff with a view to transferring ownership of all three to Partnerships in Children’s Services Limited, a Bedfordshire-based company backed by national private equity investor Sovereign Capital.
At the time, Mencap said it was looking to sell the sites “to ensure that they continue to be sustainable and competitive.”
Yesterday, the deal with Cambian for all three sites was announced.
Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, said: “Today we are pleased to announce the sale of Dilston, Lufton and Pengwern Colleges. We have already informed all stakeholders including current and future students, their parents, all staff and the relevant regulatory authorities, whom have welcomed the plans.
“Mencap is committed to ensuring we provide the best value for money for our donors while helping people with a learning disability as much as possible. Our focus is on providing educational support for people with a learning disability within their local communities.
“The Cambian Group shares our values and ethos in relation to delivering quality services that promote choice, opportunity and respect. We believe the Cambian Group’s involvement will help push the colleges forward in meeting these goals through increased investment.”
The acquisition represents Cambian’s first venture into providing further education to young people with learning disabilities.
A statement from the company said it was “committed to ensuring Cambian Dilston College continues to provide excellent services, and has no intention of implementing changes to the care and support currently being provided or to the staffing at the college. Moreover, the college will benefit from an enhanced support network and additional investment in areas including facilities and accommodation.”
The college provides a specialised environment that supports young people with learning disabilities, autism, and complex health and behavioural needs.
Learners at Dilston are supported to access person-centred learning programmes incorporating vocational learning, practical life skills development and therapeutic support.
The college is Education Funding Agency funded and offers flexible placements including up to 52 week residential and day services, and also short breaks and outreach services.