This was my first time on going on a boat, I put on my life jacket and I listened to the safety talk that we had on the boat before leaving Ilfracombe harbour.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never been on a boat before, we left Ilfracombe harbour and went out to sea and the sea spray came over and got us all wet! We were told that we might see some seals and I was looking out for them. The boat stopped a couple of times and we were given some information about where we had stopped. At the last place we stopped before going back to the harbour we saw some seals. They were laying up on the rocks, we couldn’t get too close as they would get scared and go back in the sea. We then went back to the harbour.

I very much enjoyed this trip and I would like to do this again.

Nathan out at sea smiling on a boat  Picture of Ilfacombe from out at sea

Some people just can’t help but be creative and Nathan is one of those people. With Christmas coming he has turned his hand to making Christmas trees made from driftwood collected locally. The trees come in three different sizes, small, medium and large so there is something to suit everyone.
Nathan isn’t just an artist though! He has a real business head on his shoulders and is selling the trees in the lead up to Christmas so anyone who wants to enhance their home this Christmas or just to give a wonderful gift should contact Nathan via Head Office to put in an order fast.
Well done Nathan for seeing the opportunity in waste wood and make a really beautiful product.
 Student holding his drift wood Christmas tree

Paignton was a complete riot recently when staff from Oakwood Court College in Dawlish took part in the Colour Rush 5K race for charity. All monies raised will go to Rowcroft Hospice to support the incredible work they do with people who have life limiting conditions.

More than 1500 people took part in the event running over Paignton and Preston beaches while being pelted by helpful spectators with one and a half tons of powdered paint!

Our team made up of staff from Oakwood Court College in Dawlish had been training really hard throughout the summer with lots of planning meetings in the sun and buying new trainers! Well, the gruelling training program certainly worked because Jamie, Mel, Andrew and Harriet all crossed the finishing line in glorious Technicolor having supported the charity to raise in excess of £60,000 with the grand total still growing as final donations flood in.

Staff running covered in paint          Staff with their medals covered in paint

A massive thank you to all the people who visited us on our stand at Somerset’s biggest Independent Living show last week. We were really pleased to be using our new stand to showcase exactly what Oakwood Court College can offer young people aged 16-25 with a learning disability who wish to go on to further education.

Thanks also go out to all our young people and parents, past and present who helped us develop our new brochures and hand outs. The feedback we received from everyone was invaluable and really made us think about exactly what people want to know about a college and what they can expect when they join.

It was a really busy show with lots of people stopping to chat and learn more about Oakwood Court and in particular how it supports its students to develop very real pathways to future employment.

As you can see from the photo some young people were clearly very taken with our green bugs and were happy to show their support for Oakwood in their own unique style!

Next month on October 15th we will be at Junction 24 in Somerset for the South West’s largest careers fair so we hope to see you all there!

                                               Stand marketing Oakwood Court College                Students with thumbs up infront of Oakwood's stall.

Staff and young people from Bridgeview have recently attended an All Party Parliamentary Group Meeting for young people in care at the Houses of Parliament and it has really got them thinking….

Following the meeting they decided that every young person supported by Phoenix Learning and Care should have the opportunity to have their voice heard and to shape and improve their care.

Keith Burley, Managing Director of Phoenix was their next port of call. They met with Keith and his team to talk through how they could help and the idea of a Children’s Council was born.

Meeting are now in full swing and young people have a regular opportunity to get together and discuss their care. The meetings have really empowered those who attended and some incredible talking points have arisen. Recent agenda points have included the ‘staying put’ policy. A small team of staff and young people will lobby for this at a meeting in The Houses of Parliament on Thursday 11th September with ECLCM (Every Child Leaving Care Matters)

The Children’s Council has some really important work ahead of them seeing young people involved in the writing of job descriptions, helping with recruitment and taking part in training.

With all this activity going on it’s a good job that Keith is in charge of supplying the pizza……..meetings always run more smoothly when refreshments are on hand!

The holidays are over and Oakwood Court College is alive with the sounds of new pupils arriving and settling in and returning students full of news of their adventures over the summer.

For some of our recent leavers it has also been a really busy time. Tom who left Oakwood in two years ago and now works at Powderham Castle and volunteers at a local youth club found time in his busy schedule to lend a hand at a huge information gathering event in Devon.

The DCT event at Exeter University was a great opportunity for us to meet with visitors and explain exactly what makes our college so special. Tom was kept busy all day talking with families, advocates and social care professionals about his experience of attending an independent specialist college and how he has now found a job he really loves.

Tom was an absolute natural and we would like to say a massive thank you for all his help!

Ex Student Tom on the stall, talking to people about Oakwood Court College

What a summer it has for the students who attend Oakwood Court College in Torpoint! For one young lady all her hard work and dedication has truly paid off because she has sailed through the Cardiff Special Olympics Badminton Competition and is on her way to Bournemouth where she will take part in the next stage. Go Nikki, we are backing you all the way!

For one other student the outcomes she set herself in her latest review have been met and exceeded with her taking the bus independently over the summer break and also visiting her local pool for swimming sessions. Staff and students can’t wait to see what Alex challenges herself to next!

It really has been a fantastic summer for the girls who have really shown themselves to be highly valued members of their community. Jenny decided that rather than taking a break over the last 6 weeks she would continue with her work placement which was greatly appreciated by all her regular customers visiting the shop.

Camellia Photo 1

Phoenix Learning and Care are working in partnership with the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to develop new and improved services at their Specialist Independent College; Oakwood Court in Dawlish.

The building is right next door to college and had previously been an older person’s service which had fallen into disrepair. Work has now started to completely renovate the service and will be completed in time for the September term. Currently a hive of activity the building team are working flat out to ensure that once again this grand old building has a deserved place within the community.

 The project will see additional and much improved residential accommodation at Oakwood Court as well as specially developed learning spaces in which students can access their tailored programs of education.

 There will be a grand launch of the service later in September welcoming students, families, and professionals to spend time exploring the new provision and meeting the team from Oakwood Court

On the 20th July 2014 and group of Phoenix staff and a young person, joined Keith Burley’s family and friends to help celebrate his survival from prostate cancer, by cycling 56 miles through the Somerset countryside.

The ride included an ascent of Burrington Combe a very long steep climb from the levels to the Mendips.

Many had not ridden more than a few miles previously but all but two finished the ride.

Some completed the ride in 3½ hours and others took a full 9 hours, but the commitment shown was extremely impressive.

Keith was extremely humbled by the number of staff and even a young person riding to show their support of his recovery.


The who cares? Trust is focused on pushing forward in ensuring each child in care gets all the opportunities and support they need to help them progress and succeed in life.  The trust organises national and regional events which are run by children in care so they can be on the forefront of change. These children meet MP’s, politicians and professionals to put forward their ideas on how they think the care system needs to change – they directly talk to the people who have the power to make change happen!

These children are working hard and fighting for a chance to get the best possible future, let’s help them! By signing on to The who cares? Trust website and filling out their short survey we can lend our voices to children in care and the staff that support them.  Please follow the link bellow where you will find a short survey for the children in care and a separate survey for those that work with them.