The Flat was officially opened at Darlington College, a project to help students with additional support needs live independent lives.

Six students, aged 18-21, have joined the Preparing for Adulthood course after completing last year the Next Steps study programme.

Over the summer holiday Darlington College has transformed a classroom into a fully equipped and adapted flat complete with cooker and hob, washing machine, sinks, fridge and furniture.

As well as developing academically, including subjects such as maths and English, students will learn a host of life-skills, including shopping, budgeting, cookery, ironing, washing, cleaning and making beds.

The programme also involves learning a host of employability skills and work experience to maximize their chances of a full and independent life. Students will be preparing for adulthood by making key links within the community and planning for life after college.

Students drew lots for the honour of officially opening The Flat and Amber Bourne, 21, of Ingleton cut the ribbon.

She said: “It was a real privilege to open The Flat, which looks amazing. We are all very excited about it.”

Darlington College tutor Ali Wright said: “The Flat is the perfect facility for our students who have completed the Next Steps study programme but want to develop further skills that will help them to live as independent and productive adults in the community.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.