The Deaf Academy’s move from Exeter to its purpose-built site in Exmouth has gone on hold because of the coronavirus lockdown.
Students and staff had planned to move into the £10.5million academy, in the grounds of the former Rolle College site, after an extended Easter break.
The pandemic has also prompted the academy to hold its planned Exmouth beach colorbomb fundraiser online, to coincide with Deaf Awareness week, beginning today, Monday, May 4.
The Deaf Academy in Exmouth had been set to open in the spring 2020, after almost 200 years of being based in Topsham Road, Exeter.
Now, because of the coronavirus crisis, Deaf Academy students of keyworkers are being temporarily taught at the WESC Foundation for visual impairment, in Exeter, while the Exmouth site is finished.
Students needing accommodation are based at Exeter University.
Sylvan Dewing, principal of the Deaf Academy, said: ‘When it became clear that our move to the new site would not happen on schedule and we couldn’t remain at the old site, we quickly developed new plans.
“We are hugely grateful to both the WESC Foundation and the University of Exeter for their support. This means we have been able to open our spring camp for a limited number of priority students, for example those whose parents are keyworkers.
“None of us could have anticipated the world being turned upside down by coronavirus, but the inevitable impact meant that our new home was not quite ready.
“The timing couldn’t have been worse, but we are ever resourceful, and ever resilient and it’s still very much a new chapter for us.”
The Deaf Academy’s planned colourbomb fundraiser on Exmouth beach has moved online.
From today, people are encouraged to dress in colourful clothes, make a donation, then take a photo and share it.
It is hoped the online event will help raise the final £100,000 needed to fully-equip the new Deaf Academy.
Mr Dewing said: “We’re looking forward to seeing people take up the virtual colourbomb challenge, from corporate teams dressing up for calls, to our students and families and our fantastically supportive community – we know there are going to be some amazing sights and we’re so grateful to people for supporting us and helping us reach our fundraising target.
“Coronavirus may have forced us to change our plans, but as we’ve shown often in recent years, we deal with change very well.
“We press on and continue to put the needs of our students first and foremost in everything we do.”
For more information on how you can get involved with the online colourbomb, see here.