£8m safe haven opens for vulnerable youths

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A multi-million pound children’s home for society’s most vulnerable young people has opened in Hailsham.

The state-of-the-art new Lansdowne Secure Children’s Home is described as one of the most modern, secure facilities in the country.

The building is on the site of its original base in Hawks Road.

The £8 million development, funded by the Department for Education, will house young people who may be in danger of harming themselves or others, who are placed in secure accommodation for their own protection or that of others in the community.

The residential area of the complex boasts seven bedrooms with en-suite bathroom facilities, a dining room where children eat together, a games room, two lounges, multi-faith area and sensory room.

Teresa Lavelle-Hill, head of Looked-After Children’s Services at East Sussex County Council, said: “We have been able to provide an excellent service at the old Lansdowne but the new building takes the level of care we can offer to a whole new level.

“While it’s important to maintain high levels of safety and security, Lansdowne is primarily a children’s home and its residential area remains child-focused and homely.

“It is home to some of the most vulnerable children in care and will provide a safe, secure but nurturing environment in which young people can live, learn and socialise, helping them to develop respect for themselves and others.

“The home will provide the security and support they need to progress and grow into mature, responsible citizens, which is to the benefit not only the young people themselves but society as a whole.”

The building includes a fully-equipped school, with staff offering an educational curriculum using the latest technology in a multi-use classroom, with dedicated rooms for vocational courses such as science, hair and beauty and performing arts. The building also has a sports hall and fitness suite.

The home has consistently received ‘good’ Ofsted ratings with some ‘outstanding’ features.

Children stay at Lansdowne for three months, but some will stay for longer if it is believed they will benefit.

All young people will receive an individual care plan and package of support ensuring their educational, emotional and behavioural well-being.

The home is one of only a small number of its kind in the UK and places can be offered at a cost to other local authorities which need a secure placement.