Lord Shaftesbury presents staff award to Livability Millie College

by Helen Barnes // April 20 2023

Award recognises the achievements of staff in establishing new post-16 college and creating routes to employment for young people with disabilities

Staff at Livability Millie College have been recognised for their dedication and commitment to developing a new education provision which has enterprise and wellbeing at its heart.

Nick Ashley-Cooper, the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury and Vice-Patron of Livability, presented The Shaftesbury Award to College Principal Jon Ascot during a visit on Thursday, 23 March.

He joined Livability’s Trustees, including Chair of Trustees John Robinson, on a tour of the college, set on a 350-acre nature reserve at Holton Lee, to see the scale of work so far and hear about future plans.

The college, which supports young people aged 16-25+ with learning disabilities and additional needs, opened in September 2022.

Its curriculum is closely aligned to its outdoor environment, with students developing knowledge and skills through enterprise activities in four core areas – horticulture, animal care, catering and nature conservation.

On the walk around, guests met staff and students and the parents of a student who spoke passionately about the progress their son has made since attending college.

They also heard about the partnerships the college is developing with businesses and organisations to support students’ independence, wellbeing and skills development.

The tour included a stop to see some of the college’s newest arrivals, a family of donkeys rescued from a farm in Wales.

At the end of the visit, Lord Shaftesbury surprised staff by announcing they had won The Shaftesbury Award. The staff award recognises teams who have succeeded in improving the outcomes and lives of those they support. Presenting the award, he said:

“On behalf of the charity, it is a great honour to present this award. There has been a lot of hard work and you seem to be going on a fantastic path. Keep on going, it is fantastic what you are doing.”

Adele Audin, Livability’s Director for Education, nominated the staff team at Livability Millie College, saying it was fitting to present a new award to a new college.

“Millie College took on the incredible challenge of starting up on a 350-acre nature reserve with not a classroom in sight. The fantastic team, led by Jon Ascot, has made the environment their classroom and we congratulate them on their successful start.”

Livability’s Chair of Trustees, John Robinson said:

“Livability Millie College has won the award for education and we have seen why as we walked around. You have done an amazing job in six months, starting from scratch to where you are today. From small acorns come bigger things.”

College Principal Jon Ascot said:

“I was surprised and humbled Millie College was chosen for the award, and am thrilled that after only a short time in operation, our reputation and work is being recognised more widely. The college team are delighted to receive this award, recognising their efforts and their work.”

The Shaftesbury Award

The Shaftesbury Award takes its name from the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury who set up the Ragged School Union and whose tireless work for those who were deserving of advocacy and help is continued through the work of Livability. The 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, as Vice-Patron of Livability, continues our 180-year association.

The awards trophy is engraved with an etched version of the Shaftesbury Angel (often known as Anteros or the Angel of Christian Charity).