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Bishop opens new residential centre at St Rose’s School

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The Rt Rev Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton, today officially opened the new residential facility, Quentin House, at St Rose’s special school in Stroud.

The school raised £1.5 million over the past two years, and The St Rose’s Big Bounce campaign, fronted by Eddie the Eagle Edwards, was launched in the summer of 2019 to start the fundraising for Quentin House – a specially-adapted residential home-from-home for St Rose’s children.

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St Roses Principal Sheila Talwar with Rt Rev Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton, who opened Quentin House by cutting a ribbon and blessing with holy water. Picture: Gavin Crilly.

“The children who attend St Roses have complex disabilities; they face enormous challenges in communicating, in learning and in mobilising,” explained St Rose’s Principal, Sheila Talwar.

“In the nurturing environment of the school and the new residential centre, they learn life skills that enable them to be as independent as they can be. Just like we want all our children to be. After all, independence is just another word for growing up.

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Quentin House. Picture: Gavin Crilly.

“Not only do these young people need to be in a safe and loving environment, but those environments need to be uniquely adapted to the challenges they face. Many struggle with loud, echoey spaces, many have visual impairments which means they find it tricky to work out which room they are in. Our lovely Georgian building is cosy, but you could hardly turn today’s wheelchairs around in some rooms. Just one reason why we urgently needed to redesign our residential facilities.

“Quentin House is so much more than just a house. A place to learn the life skills like cooking, shopping, socialising with friends and yes, even washing up! Skills that will allow the children to be as independent as they can be.

“We are so grateful to everyone who has supported the campaign – Our thanks go to the Summerfield Charitable Trust, the Pied Piper Appeal who funded our Immersive Room, Ardingly College, Barnwood Trust our Trustees from the English Dominican Congregation and the Friends of St Rose’s who all gave us significant amounts of money. There are so many others who have helped support the campaign and it wouldn’t have happened without Gloucester based architects, Robert Limbrick and cost consultants, AFA Consultants.

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The formal opening of Quentin House by the Rt Rev Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton, blesses the inside of the house with holy water, held by John Kyffin. Picture: Gavin Crilly.

“Needless to say, our students won the hearts of everyone, including the workmen and even they supported the childrens’ fundraising projects by buying chocolate smoothies and raffle tickets. During lockdown our students raised over £1,000.”

The school was founded more than 100 years ago when a child with special needs, who could not be accommodated in a parish school, was left with the Dominican Sisters of St Rose Convent in Stroud. This led them to found St Rose’s in 1912 – one of the very first special schools in the country.

With money they borrowed, they bought and extensively renovated a house adjoining the convent. They created a place ready to nurture and provide specialist and individual education and residential care for children and young people. St Rose’s was officially recognised by the Board of Education in April 1912. 

Pictures by Gavin Crilly

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