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Paralympic champion Danny Crates opens 'fantastic' Learning for Life Centre in Cyprus Road, Edmonton
A Paralympic champion opened a new learning centre for children with special needs today.
Gold medallist and sports commentator Danny Crates visited the Learning for Life Centre in Cyprus Road, Edmonton.
He unveiled a plaque with the Mayor of Enfield, Councillor Kate Anolue, declaring the centre officially open.
The 39-year-old 800m record holder, who retired three years ago, said he was delighted to visit.
Crates said: “I was invited as a guest but anything that gives young people an opportunity to enhance their lives, I am all for.
“It is just fantastic, you can’t think of a better setting for people to learn life skills.”
The building has been transformed from the original Fire House for Edmonton Fire Station, which had lay derelict for several years.
The space, which is part of special needs school and specialist sports college West Lea School, in Haselbury Road, will work as a hub for 14 to 19-year-old students to learn practical skills.
A group of students attended today's official opening and were given a chance to explore their new space.
The modern two-storey centre, complete with up-to-date classrooms and a kitchen, will cater for 50 students with a view to expanding further.
The young people will learn through activities such as cooking, work experience and decision making.
Project manager Kay Zantis, who works for Enfield Council, said she is “very pleased” with the finished centre.
She said: “The children are so full of confidence, they are beaming. They love it and they enjoy it, the kids really respect the centre – they say it feels more like a house than a school.”
The innovative project, which cost £486,500 to complete, kicked off in January this year and was funded by the Government’s Young People’s Learning Agency and West Lea School.
The building, which was taken over by squatters in 2011, was donated by Enfield Council.
The Mayor of Enfield said: "I think it is absolutely wonderful, it is something that these young people need.
"It is going to be fantastic, especially for Edmonton, everyone has done a wonderful job."