Pioneering Leeds-based education charity Lighthouse Futures Trust (Lighthouse Futures) is moving to Moorfield House, Alma Road, Headingley, Leeds in a deal negotiated by chartered surveyors Carter Towler. The property’s owner, Illuminating Investments, has agreed to let an initial 9000 sq ft of the imposing Grade II building to the charity who will use the space to create an innovative further education college.
Lighthouse Futures supports young adults, aged 16-25, with autism or a learning disability. The new college will help develop the social and employability skills needed to find paid employment.
Commenting on the deal Carter Towler director Richard Fraser said: “We are absolutely delighted that Lighthouse Futures is moving to Headingley and we are very excited to see their amazing plans for the refurbishment of Moorfield House take shape. The themed learning zones will include hotel and restaurant hubs, office suites and IT and media suites – all the kinds of workplaces their students are preparing for.
“This is the first step in the charity’s ambitious plans and we wish them the very best of luck in securing all the funding they need for their expansion and ultimately for the purchase of the building.”
Lighthouse Futures Trust chief executive officer, Katie Parlett (pictured) added: “The statistics for young people with learning difficulties moving into employment are only 16% which is shockingly low compared to research that shows over 70% really want to work. For the past 5 years we have been working with some of the region’s major employers – Yorkshire Water, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, John Lewis, Leeds City Council and others – to provide a 12-month supported internship. This enables our talented interns to learn what it is like to work in a business setting, and to try out a range of roles in different areas.
“Alongside this we provide support to enable them to gain qualifications in English and Maths, and to take part in an enterprise project. This move to Moorfield House enables us to significantly increase our programme this year and the site gives us an opportunity to grow to over 100 students in the future.
“Illuminating Investments has been a supportive landlord, pulling out all the stops to help us develop just part of the building first whilst we work very hard behind the scenes to secure the additional finances required.”
David Aspland, Illuminating Investments director concluded: “We are proud to see this historic building springing back into life for such a superb cause. Moorfield House is perfect for Lighthouse Futures; it’s in a great location and has a very vibrant and creative past. It’s wonderful to know that will now continue with the college focusing on preparing talented young people for work in such an innovative way.”