A NEW course at Andover College for young people with additional needs has received a £200 grant from the Co-op.

The Focus on Life Skills course began earlier this year, aimed at allowing a group of friends from Icknield special needs school in Andover to continue on with their education without having to leave the town.

A fundraising appeal was launched to get the course off the ground, with various people and groups in the community getting involved, including staff and students at John Hanson Community School who took part in a sponsored bike ride.

Now, Kat Uren, engagement coordinator at the Andover Co-op depot has arranged for the compamny to chip into the cause too.

She told the Advertiser: “We have access to a community fund, and Iris [Cllr Iris Andersen] had told me that this course was running and was still in need of some equipment, so we are here today to present them with a cheque for £200 to help towards that.”

Kat also said that she hopes to arrange a Co-op community day where volunteers will help the students to clear their garden area, ready for them to give it a new lease of life.

Suzie Oostendorp, curriculum lead for the new course, told the Advertiser that she hopes to be able to buy a swing for their garden to help with encouraging the young people to spend time outdoors.

“It’s just ideal really, to get the resources that they need, because the college didn’t have the resources before so we are starting a fresh,” she said.

Cllr Iris Andersen, who represents Andover St Mary's on Test Valley Borough Council and brought the groups together to arrange the support, added: “The Co-op does great things for the community and I am very much, in different ways, involved.

“What this is ensuring is that [the young people] can all stay here in Andover, and be with their friends, and they don’t have to go out to other areas for college. They should have the same opportunities as everyone else.

“Lots of people have been behind this and have been instrumental in making it happen.”

The Co-op will soon be announcing its new local causes, which members can donate to when they spend money in-store. For more information, visit: https://causes.coop.co.uk/