Our vision is to enhance the well-being of those with disability, how they feel, how they function on a personal and social level, and how they feel about their lives as a whole.
The Chamwell Centre derives its name from the Chamwell School, which was Gloucester’s special school for children with physical disability and stood on the present Milestone School site until 1997, when three schools were amalgamated.
The resulting Milestone School, rated ’Outstanding’ by Ofsted, is now one of the largest special schools in the country with over 320 pupils, all with severe and complex additional needs.
A further expansion came when three other special schools joined Milestone to form the SAND Academy in 2019, for another 200 children with additional needs. In 2015, the large hydrotherapy pool, on which the school relied, became unsafe and needed to be replaced. The site also lacked suitable facilities for play, physical activities and social opportunities for its pupils. A little research showed that the problem was much wider than that, with a general lack of suitable facilities in Gloucestershire for recent school leavers and adults with complex additional needs. After wide consultation, plans were drawn up for The Chamwell Centre to be built on The Milestone campus.
A dedicated group of trustees, each bringing specialist knowledge and experience, formed a charity and launched an appeal which eventually resulted in £5.1 million being raised to build a visionary and unique resource for the people of Gloucestershire. Chamwell was designed to cater for the needs of the pupils of The Milestone School and The SAND Academy during school hours but at all other times, to be a resource for all in the Community who can benefit from its services.
We have a state-of-the-art building, which is now coming alive with all the wonderful people who are enjoying being part of this groundbreaking project. Chamwell’s challenge now is to ensure that it meets the needs of The Milestone School, SAND Academy and all those with complex additional needs in the County of Gloucestershire.
This is their building. The generous benefactors who made it possible, made their donations so that everyone, no matter what their degree of difficulty, could access sports, leisure, therapies, and play in a spirit of friendship and equality.
Our launch has been shakier than we would have hoped, because of the Covid pandemic but despite this, great strides have been made and we plan to forge ahead with plans for more adapted sports and therapies, more social opportunities, youth groups, clubs, music, dance, theatre and many more activities, always being guided by the wishes of the Chamwell users themselves.
Our short breaks programme is just beginning but will be developed over the coming months to offer exciting opportunities for children and young people to access all the exciting activities which Chamwell can offer, whilst being cared for by our staff.
We shall be building on our current therapy staff to increase our ability to offer professional supervision for therapies and adapted sports.
The possibilities for Chamwell are endless. We are in uncharted territory because there are no other Centres like Chamwell – we are the pioneers of a new concept in caring and meeting the needs of all those with complex additional needs in our community.
By means of our research, our focus groups, our wide network of contacts and professionals, we plan to develop the Chamwell Centre so that it truly reflects and fulfils the needs of the community which it serves.
Specialist physiotherapists, qualified in aquatic therapy will prescribe and monitor programmes in the pool. Family members and carers will be offered training to support aquatic therapy and the use of changing facilities and hoists.
Our team of physiotherapists will monitor and support the use of all our facilities. Individual or group sessions can be booked and visiting therapists, doctors and nurses can use the Centre’s two therapy and consulting rooms.
An exciting colourful adventure zone over three floors, accessible on the top floor by wheelchair users, who can join in the fun of sliding, rolling, or bouncing from one activity to another.
A full sized floor level therapy trampoline is invaluable for non-ambulant as well as able-bodied users.
Accessible to all by overhead hoists or from wheelchairs and standers, the climbing wall hand and foot holds light up to lead users into exciting climbs and games.
The playground is suitable for all abilities. A sports area has been created for wheelchair rugby, football and basketball, in addition to Race Running. The improved campus layout enhances safety and access to the school.
We work very closely with local clubs and organisations to offer a variety of inclusive sporting activities
Our multi-use area is used to host youth clubs and indoor activities during the evenings and weekends. We are looking to host acting, music and other social activities and clubs. The area can also be used as a conference and training room.
The Chamwell Centre Community Café caters for visitors to the Centre and the local community, offering delicious hot and cold food and drinks throughout the day.
The Chamwell Centre was built entirely by charitable funding and will rely on the generosity of the public, businesses and charitable trusts to continue its work and to ensure that children and adults in Gloucestershire can enjoy its facilities.
Making a single donation or regular giving
Organising a fundraising event
Remembering The Chamwell Centre in your will