Over 100 guests from the region’s philanthropic community were invited to join students from Seashell’s Royal College Manchester to the launch of the next phase of the charity’s Transforming Lives Appeal. The event took place at the Moulding Foundation Building, the new £23 million home for Royal School Manchester in Cheadle Hulme, which was unveiled in April this year.
Seashell´s recently opened Moulding Foundation Building was the centrepiece for the event, where guests heard from Brandon Leigh, Chief Executive, who spoke about how the current college building can no longer meet the needs of the students which are very much more complex now than when it was built in the early 1970s.
The aim is to construct a new college building that offers state of the art facilities including sensory rooms, sport facilities, fitness suites and a community café. The new college will sit alongside the new Royal School Manchester building on the site, where the facilities have had a hugely positive impact on students at the school. The Royal College Manchester is for young adults aged 19-25, with the most complex needs.
During the evening, BBC Presenter Gethin Jones interviewed Clare Sefton Principal of Royal College Manchester alongside Molly Murphy aged 21, a former student, who also featured in a short video outlining the campaign. She shared with the audience just how important a new building is for the young people and how it will bring about more opportunities for them. She also touched on what a special place Seashell is and how it really does ‘Transform Lives’. Molly was also delighted to share with the audience that it was her first day of employment at Seashell where she has started a job in the Fundraising and Marketing team as a Fundraising and Engagement Ambassador
A Royal College Manchester student Issac, aged 22, was on hand to help Simon Wood and his team in the kitchen during the evening. Issac has been a student at Seashell for three years. During his time at Seashell, Issac showed a keen interest in cooking, so Seashell staff encouraged him to take on some tasks within the kitchen at Seashell. This actively helped him to prepare for work beyond college. Today he has a job with Sodexo based at Alderley Park. Issac’s success truly represents what Royal College Manchester sets out to achieve for its young people.
Brandon Leigh, Chief Executive of Seashell said: “We have been astounded by the generosity of our family of supporters in recent years. Once again we are appealing to them and to new ones to help us build a new college to equip our students with the skills they need to become valued members of their communities when they leave Seashell.”
The discovery of reinforced aerated autoclaved concrete in the original college building’s construction, something the charity had been monitoring closely for two years, has forced the charity to prematurely close the buildings and transfer the students, all of whom have complex learning and physical disabilities, to its old recently vacated 1950s school building. This had been mothballed following the opening of the award-winning Moulding Foundation Building.
Seashell aims for the new Royal College Manchester building to be open in time for the 2025-26 academic year. It will boast state-of-the-art classrooms, sensory rooms, multi-purpose spaces, a community cafe run by its students, together with sports facilities and a fitness suite which the public will be able to access.