Thanet residents and businesses pitch in to raise cash for specialist school build at Quex

Sara Llewellyn initially set up the school for son Louie and others displaced by the closure of the Royal School for Deaf Children

Building work on a specialist school which will be based on land at Quex estate in Birchington is progressing thanks to help from community fundraisers.

The Llewellyn School and Nursery is run by Sara and Philip Llewellyn and based at their home in Westbook.

Sara set up the school to provide education for her son Louie and other children in a similar situation after the closure of the Royal School for the Deaf in December 2015. The John Townsend Trust, which ran it, went into administration.

The closure left scores of young people without suitable schooling.

Louie, now 11, was born with a rare chromosome deletion, meaning a small piece is missing from one of the body’s 46 chromosomes.

The missing bit includes genes that are important for Louie’s normal development, which can cause learning difficulties or disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Dystonia which causes mini seizures and Craniosynostosis. The chromosome deletion also makes it difficult for Louie to stretch out his hands and feet, like the average person would be able to and growth is a lot slower than other children.

The Llewellyn school and Nursery became a registered independent school and community interest company (CIC) in January 2017.

It has proved so vital that the couple need larger premises to cope with demand.

The premises in Margate caters for 14 children with 10 members of staff. The new school at Quex will initially take 20 children and have 15 staff. After a period of 5 years a phase 2 would be considered which would involve the addition of further classrooms.

Anthony Curwen the managing director of Quex Park, offered Sara a plot of land to build the school and planning permission was granted in February.

Linked to the school is registered charity, Louie’s Helping Hands, which supports the youngsters by providing some of the valuable therapies they require. These include hydrotherapy, horse riding and art and music sessions.

The charity was initially set up as a fundraising page in 2012 by Louie’s godmother Tania Horn.

Tania created a gofundme page to help hit the £100,000 target for the new school build and funds have been added by a host of community events..

On September 29 a Quex adventure golf evening raised £1,000 for the project which now has footings up to damp course level. The donation from the golf evening has paid towards  concrete bricks in the build.

The project taking shape

Teams from Business Computer Solutions, The Secret Garden Nursery, Quex Farm, Llewelyn School, Quex Paintball and an Adventure Golf Team as well as friends and family of Quex all took part to raise the money.

The winners took home hampers of luxury Kent produce, much of which was donated by Kent Crisps, Fudge Kitchen, Opies, Quex Barn and Kentish Oils.

A raffle was also held with prizes from The Bay Tree Hotel, Chapel Down Wines, The Crispin Pub at Worth, Hatfield Farms, The Secret Garden Nursery, Sainsbury’s, Timpsons, Segaries, The Windmill, Love to Shop and Carlton Cinema.

Andy Mack entertained, donating his time for free, Sainsbury’s in Birchington donated sausages for a barcue, Tesco Extra gave hot dog rolls, burger buns and salads and Quex Adventure Golf hosted.

More events are also coming up, including a Pudding and  Prosecco night at Café Darcy in Margate.

The venue, run by brothers Darren and Kevin Barrett (pictured), in Marine Gardens, is offering a five course pudding menu plus a glass of the sparkly stuff as well as entertainment from musicians Siobhan McFadyen and Mark Taylor.

The event takes place on October 20, from 7pm to 11pm, and costs £25 per person. During the evening there will also be a prize draw with  party for up to 16 children in the mobile Gaming Vault. Tickets for this are £10. Find out more from the Gaming Vault on 07572338186 or find them on facebook here.

To book for the Pudding and Prosecco night call 01843 221872 or find them on facebook here.

There will also be a two-hour Clubberthon charity event run by Fitness with Naomi on December 8, from noon -2pm at St Georges School Broadstairs.

Manston mum-of-one and fitness instructor Naomi Wright has chosen Louie’s Helping Hands as one of the charities to support, the other being Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Find the event page here

Anyone wishing to donate towards building of the school or who wants to hold their own fundraising event for the project can visit or email [email protected]