Youngsters living in residential accommodation at a city school are looking forward to a home from home thanks to a £20,000 grant from the Duke of Devonshire.
The Royal School for the Deaf Derby, in Ashbourne Road, takes pupils from across the UK and sometimes from abroad so that they can take advantage of the school’s specialist provision.
The grant from the Duke of Devonshire’s Charitable Trust means that the bathrooms and bedrooms in Lydia House, one of two residential blocks, are being modernised, redecorated and refurnished.
The block, which caters for children between seven and 13-years-old, was built in 1973 and much of the bedroom furniture dates back to that time.
The money will also pay for new carpets throughout the building as well as the creation of a walk-in wet room on the ground floor which means that pupils with limited mobility will no longer need assistance to access the shower.
Head teacher Helen Shepherd said: “The residential accommodation is extremely important to us because of the distance that our pupils travel to be with us. Not only is it their home for the week, it performs a wonderful function in encouraging them to socialise and learn living skills, such as cooking.
“It helps them to learn independent living skills, which is part of the ethos of the school, and they feel like they are a member of a real mini-community here too.
“Moving away from home is a huge step for any child, especially at just seven years old, so we want to make Lydia House as comforting and welcoming as possible.
“The bedrooms were badly in need of renovation and some of the furniture was 45 years old, so the project was very much overdue.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Duke of Devonshire Trust for enabling us to carry out this work and the pupils are extremely excited about seeing what their new bedrooms are going to look like.”
The 13 bedrooms will have new sinks, desks and fitted wardrobes and decorators are replacing the dark blue paintwork with white and magnolia shades.
The students themselves were invited to vote for the style of furniture they wanted to see in the refurbished block.
Mrs Shepherd added: “In 2015 we spent £60,000 upgrading the kitchen and communal areas of Lydia House, so this grant will help to bring the rest of the building up to the same lovely standard.
“It might not be Chatsworth House standard but it will certainly be treasured by our students for many years to come.”
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