Cherries legend Steve Fletcher opens Bournemouth project for students with Asperger’s syndrome

Bournemouth Echo: Students and staff at the Wing Centre with head teacher Janette Morgan and AFC Bournemouth’s Steve Fletcher Students and staff at the Wing Centre with head teacher Janette Morgan and AFC Bournemouth’s Steve Fletcher

CHERRIES legend Steve Fletcher opened a new initiative to help students with Asperger’s syndrome last week.

The Wing Centre, on Richmond Park Road, Bournemouth, is a specialist residential college for young people who have the condition.

Steve visited on Friday, May 2 to officially open the centre’s vocational Work Fridays project – an initiative aimed at increasing the employability skills for the school’s students.

Deputy head Kim Welsh said: “Unfortunately nationally only five per cent of students with Asperger’s syndrome gain meaningful employment, and we want to do as much as we can to address this deficit.”

Work Fridays has been introduced where the students work in one of four small enterprise businesses started by the centre.

This includes a catering business supplying home-made cakes and snacks to companies and cafes in the area, as well as a digital studio, a furniture restoration business and a woodwork workshop.

Kim said she was grateful for the support Steve was giving the scheme and the students were all delighted to see him attend.

The ex-AFC Bournemouth striker watched the youngsters show off their skills between chatting and having photos taken with them.

Next on the agenda for the Wing Centre is a coffee morning on May 17 at 10am where staff are hoping to gauge interest in a new support group for families, parents and carers of people with Asperger’s between the ages of 12 and 30.

The support group would include training, advice and guidance on a range of subjects such as behaviour management and coping with teenage years.

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