A big thank you for #Birt60

David Reid, CEO, welcomed guests, sponsors, supporters, families and friends to our Diamond Anniversary Gala Ball on Saturday 19th November 2016.David Reid 2016

I am delighted to welcome you to Birtenshaw’s Diamond Anniversary Charity Ball and would like to thank each one of you for your continued support of the work we do to brighten lives and build futures for children and young people with special educational needs and disability

Birtenshaw was set up in 1956 in Bromley Cross by a group of parents of children who had cerebral palsy, initially as an unincorporated group to explore the possibility of providing special education in the local area.

Birtenshaw Hall School, as it was then called, opened in the 1956/1957 academic year and was the first non-maintained special school in the UK.

Over the years since then, the organisation has changed, developed and more recently grown significantly at a time when many other such organisation have contracted or even closed completely.

In 2008, a decision was taken to rename the organisation and simply use the name ‘Birtenshaw’. It is now a registered charity and company limited by guarantee and has effectively become as charitable group.

The Birtenshaw Group now operates a number of services.  Birtenshaw School, which moved into its new home, a £multi-million, state of the art facility in 2012.  The new school was originally registered for 40 pupils. In spring 2016 the Department for Education gave permission to increase the number of pupils to 50, however by September 2016 the school had reached that capacity.  Work is currently underway to explore how we can increase the capacity further.

We also opened a special Further Education college in September 2014, which is already full.  We also run a small holding, hydrotherapy centre, community café, gym, horticultural project, a domiciliary care agency, young adult supported tenancies and several Children’s Homes, all but one are rated by Ofsted as Outstanding.

Over the last three years or so, Birtenshaw has grown by approximately 300%, creating over 200 jobs in the local community and as far as we know it is the fastest growing charity in the UK today.

It gives me great pleasure to be the leader of such a successful organisation, although of course, our success is down to the dedication and hard work of many employees throughout the organisation.

It gives me even greater pleasure to be able to say that in Birtenshaw’s 60th year, we are supporting more children and young people with special educational needs and disability, in a greater number and diversity of services than ever before, helping to improve their quality of their lives. It is that we are celebrating tonight.

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