Work has started on the much anticipated new specialist housing for people with visual and sensory impairments in Dringhouses, and is kicked off with a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the occasion.

The Wilberforce Trust were joined by Abbie Robinson, one of their Ambassador’s and a member of the GB Para-climbing team, along with York-based main contractors William Birch & Sons, to break ground at the site where 30 new state-of-the-art apartments plus a Living and Learning centre will be built.

Once complete the project will enable people to live independently with support as and when needed. Alongside the new apartments will be a Living and Learning centre that will be open to the local community.

Philippa Crowther, CEO at Wilberforce Trust said: “The Wilberforce Trust is celebrating this landmark day in the development of the project, we are really excited to put the first spade in the ground marking the next chapter in the Trust’s history and taking a great step forward in realising the plans we have been developing to provide excellent and accessible accommodation in the city.”

Gemma Shahjahan (Business Development Director, William Birch & Sons Ltd), Abbie Robinson (Ambassador for The Wilberforce Trust and member of the GB Paraclimbing Team) Damian Pocknell (Head of Housing, The Wilberforce Trust), Philippa Crowther (CEO, The Wilberforce Trust), Chris Birch (Chief Executive, William Birch & Sons Ltd), Andrew Caley (Site Manager, William Birch & Sons), Jane Carter (Head of Development, The Wilberforce Trust)

Abbie Robinson, Wilberforce Ambassador said; “as a visually impaired young person, the most important thing to me is keeping my independence and living the life I want to live. This development will offer help and hope to other visually impaired people whatever their age and I’m so proud to be here at the outset of what will be a ground-breaking new facility”

Chris Birch, Chairman at William Birch & Sons Ltd said: “We are delighted to be breaking ground on the site for the Wilberforce Trust and are looking forward to the new development taking shape over the coming months. Our team’s expertise coupled with local employment and engagement with many local businesses will bring wider benefits to the city of York and its people.”

“We look forward to unveiling the new facilities in the early part of 2021.