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Project information

Vittoria's Jewell

A new college for young people with learning disabilities and autism in Birmingham, opening September 2015

December 2014 - September 2015

Charity information: Ruskin Mill Trust

Ruskin Mill Trust logo
  • Need


    There is a huge need for more educational provision for young people with learning disabilities in the city. It is estimated that an additional 20,000 places are needed. Young people are suffering social, economic and cultural disadvantage through isolation, mental health issues, trauma and poverty. There isn't enough high quality education and care.


    A new college will help alleviate the problem by creating an innovative practical and therapeutic curriculum that strives to meet the individual needs of every student and to develop their confidence and skills. The project will also provide courses, workshops and a social venue for local families and residents. In this way students are integrated into their community and the project can tackle wider issues of isolation, loneliness and deprivation.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To complete the first phase of renovation by September 2015 and open the college.


    » Building works started in December 2014 and we are actively fundraising to complete the first phase.

    What success will look like

    By having quality provision in place for an initial group of 20 young disabled people.

  • Impact


    RMT has an extremely high retention rate (98%) and we can demonstrate strong and positive transition of students into the next phase of their lives: 57% of our students move into further education or employment. This is impressive when you consider that many of our students have been school refusers or out of education. We actively develop partnerships locally and nationally to create work experience and post college opportunities for learners.


    The project has already been broken down into phases due to the difficulty of obtaining capital funding nowadays. We anticipate that the project will take 3-5 years to complete fully.


    Funders of the project will receive an update when major stages have been completed. We also invite funders on site visits and to the launch events. information on our fundraised projects is on the website and published in our trust magazine.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £346,700

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £45,700 Planning,Labour,Proj Managment Design & Planning-(architect, planning, environment,Q.S),Labour, Project mgmt, concept dev't
      £50,000 Prep of site & Access+Prelims Preparation of site & foundations (remote Woodland location), track upgrade, preliminaries, e.g hire
      £39,900 Walls & Chimney Stack/flu TChimney stack & flu, External walls (boarding, insulation, studwork, sheathing),
      £32,000 Windows & doors & stove windows and doors and bespoke woodburning stove
      £59,000 Turf Roof & External works Turf roof (decking, insulation, rafters, construction, rainwater), External works (paths, fencing)
      £49,000 Commercial kitchen & furniture Designed for teaching special need students (incl bespoke wood burning oven/stove), furniture
      £33,500 Heating, drainage,toilets Underfloor heating, drainage, toilet block, water water system (UV for spring water)
      £37,600 Mechanical,Elec,Finishes, H&S Mechanical & electrical services, finishes &decorations, H&S (fall arrest& fire), Contingency

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Various funders £312,500 Conditional
  • Background


    Ruskin Mill College is located in Horsley Valley, on the outskirts of Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. The College is based on a 120 acre land holding that includes a biodynamic /organic farm, woodlands, two converted mill buildings, a wide range of craft workshops and an organic trout farm. The existing kitchen woodland kitchen is nestled at the edge of our woodland area at the far end of Gables Farm.


    Tthe Woodland Kitchen and Classroom project will:
    • directly benefit over 140 young people with complex learning difficulties and disabilities.
    • provide a teaching kitchen and catering facility for Gables Farm which provides 50% of our daily educational provision.
    • provide a valuable community resource for a wide range of community groups to access, many of whom provide services and training for disadvantaged groups.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Over 20 years, Ruskin Mill College has gained a reputation for providing high quality specialist education to young people with a range of complex learning disabilities and behavioural problems. We recently achieved an ‘Outstanding’ rating from Ofsted and in November 2010 we became one of the 200 out of 4,000 education & training providers in England to be awarded Beacon status which recognizes excellence in the learning provider sector. In addition, we have experience with previous builds.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    David Austin & Associates

    David Austin & Associates is an award winning local architects office in Nailsworth that has been involved from the very beginning of this project.

Woodland Kitchen in Winter 2009

Woodland Kitchen in Winter 2009