DUDLEY borough specialist needs students have been handed a financial windfall after Birmingham Metropolitan College was awarded £540,000 to build a new independence unit at its art and design campus in Brierley Hill.

The money, which has been secured through Dudley Council, will be used to create a new facility for borough youngsters with complex and specific educational needs.

The college already has some functional skills students at Brierley Hill studying catering, helping to run the refectory.

But the extra funding will enable special needs students to develop cookery and basic social skills to help them live independently.

Gill Coldicott, faculty director for foundation learning at B-Met, said: "The additional money will mean more students with specialist needs in the Black Country will learn how to live more independently.

"It will also help them develop enterprise and commercial skills, leading to increased confidence and progression into education and employment.”

Dudley Council obtained £1,648,244 following three successful applications to the government's 16-19 Demographic Growth Capital Fund.

And although the money is from the 16 to 19 fund, it will continue to support young people with specialist needs right up until the age of 25.