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Nominated for Citizenship award

Anthony Evans from Aberdare has campaigned for post-19 education for severely disabled adults, spurred on whilst looking for a suitable way to further improve his severely disabled son, Arwel’s education.

Anthony and his wife Claire were told that Arwel would never talk or walk and would be totally dependent on others for everything. Arwel is now 19 years old and has some speech due to the help he received at his previous school, though there was little or no provision for post-19 education.

Anthony persevered with various avenues; colleges, private educational organisations, then eventually came across the National Star College, a residential college in Cheltenham. National Star College definitely had the expertise, therapeutic support and learning programmes to help students with physical and learning difficulties, but was a residential college. This was exactly what Anthony, Claire and other parents were looking for. However, they did not feel their children would be able to deal with living away from home as they were so dependent on their family and also very vulnerable. After a meeting with the National Star Director for new business, National Star agreed that a day college was needed in Wales. Anthony then pursued his cause with various organisations.

National Star College agreed to set up a day placement for disabled young adults in Wales. The day college provision started in September 2016 close to the M4 corridor so that both staff at the Cheltenham College and students can access it easily. Anthony has been involved in every aspect and a central figure in establishing the first day college for severely disabled young adults in Wales. It has not only created opportunities for severely disabled adults in Wales to continue to develop, but has provided important job opportunities and support for other families in Wales.