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Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 12:43 GMT
Go-ahead for autism centre
Debbie and Ruari Evans
Debbie Evans says her son will benefit from the new centre
Children and adults with autism are set to benefit from Wales' first regional centre of excellence after a long fight.

Parents, governors and members of the public joined forces to set up the Plas Brondyffryn Trust in Denbighshire a few years ago to fund a new residential centre.

More than 3.5m is needed to build the centre, which will be integrated with a new school to replace the existing Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn in Denbigh.

Building is expected to begin later this year after a partnership agreement between the trust, councils and the Welsh assembly.

Plas Brondyffryn Trust will finance the building of the residential centre and the furnishings.

There's hardly anything in north Wales so to have something like a residential centre would be the biggest benefit
Sue Askins, Parent

However, Denbighshire County Council will help to run it once it is built.

The fight to improve facilities at the school has been going on for more than three years.

The Victorian building, a former country mansion, is where primary school children receive their lessons but it is hoped they will get a new school next year.

Following a 2m grant from the Welsh assembly a new secondary school has already been built for older pupils near Denbigh High.

Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn
Secondary pupils have moved to new premises in Denbigh

Once the residential centre is up and running and the primary children have moved from the the old Victorian site, the second stage will be to help over 19s to continue their studies.

Sue Askins, from Ruthin, has a 14-year-old son with autism who attends Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn and she said a post 19 college would be a huge boost to the region.

"There's hardly anything in north Wales so to have something like a residential centre would be the biggest benefit," she said.

Debbie Evans, from Abergele, takes her 12-year-old son Ruari to the school.

She said there is a residential centre available already but it needs updating desperately.

"It'll be purpose built. We can have recreation rooms and proper bedrooms, while at the moment some of the children have to share bedrooms," she said.

The residential centre is expected to take 24 boarders on a weekly basis while a further 12 people will live there permanently.

Pioneering autism school plan
04 Nov 03  |  North East Wales

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