Hull charity CASE gets a £1.5m refurbishment
IT BEGAN 27 years ago as a small group of parents, meeting in the function room of a city church.
Now undergoing a £1.5m refurbishment of its city centre base, the charity Case is going from strength to strength.
It provides training for people with learning difficulties after they leave school, equipping them with lifestyle skills from washing their own clothes and cooking to help them live more independent lives.
It also provides education, training and therapeutic services for adults with learning disabilities and associated conditions including epilepsy, asperger's syndrome, and global development delay.
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Since its inception, the charity has come a long way.
Its old and dilapidated premises in Freetown Way are undergoing a significant improvement, which chief executive of Case Kevin Corbett says will make it a learning disability centre of excellence.
He said: "The old building is being totally refurbished and extended.
"And we have also taken over the building next door which will give us an art centre.
"Our old building was falling apart around our ears."
Funding for the refurbishment came from the Social Enterprise Investment Fund as well as some European Funding.
Case has also heavily invested in the re-build.
It is allowing the charity to completely renovate the interior and the outside of the building with new room layouts, a lift and full disabled access.
Mr Corbett said: "The fabric of the building will be unrecognisable.
"This is going to improve and enhance Case.
"It will change the face of the charity.
"It will be re-born and we will be able to dramatically improve the service we provide and focus on our clients more.
"We offer training for people with learning impairments. It is life changing."
There are currently 100 people of all ages accessing support from the charity to get the skills they need.
The refurbishment will see the charity increase the building by around 40 per cent.
Work on the building is being carried out by local firm Houlton.
Mr Corbett said it was important to the charity to also invest in the wider community.
He said: "The funding of this investment is having a direct effect on the local economy. We have Houlton and all their sub contractors are local companies.
"We have had the support of the local business community for many years and this is us being able to put back.
"And without the city council, this project would never have got off the ground and would not be where it is now.
"We have a long history of working with the city council and now we are scaling new heights and this is an excellent example of partnership working.
"We are very, very grateful. The council's support has been tremendous from the seeds of the idea to extend the building.
"It has supported us from the start right through to the current time in many and varied ways."
The council has helped the charity re-locate its clients while the building work is ongoing.
It has offered buildings at very little cost, as well as storage space until the new building is ready for the charity to move back into.
Mr Corbett said: "It is an exciting future.
"This is massive part in the life of Case and it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"We either went for it or we didn't and it was key we did."
The refurbishment is likely to also create around 14 new jobs over the next two years.
Colin Wilson, vice chairman of the trust which runs the charity, said: "The key point for the trust is the old building was physically crumbling.
"I can't emphasise that enough and we can't afford the funds to repair it in that way.
"Physically, the place was not that great.
"The roof was leaking and we had a huge old decrepit boiler.
"It had been on the agenda to renovate for several years, principally to give our clients a better place to attend and that is what we are giving them.
"It is a bright new space which has been appropriately designed and is fit for purpose."