Leeds school receives support from leading housing provider

A housing association has provided funding to a local school to purchase acoustic baffles to improve the quality of sound in the school’s hall for students more sensitive to noise.


Stonewater funded the new baffles at Lighthouse School as part of its regeneration project at the neighbouring site of the former Cookridge Hospital in Leeds.

The historic grade II listed building is being transformed by Stonewater’s contractor Vistry Partnerships into 24 brand-new homes for local people, comprising of one and two-bedroom flats, two-bedroom town houses and one four-bedroom town house.

Six additional homes have also been built around the building, bringing the total of Stonewater’s development to 30 affordable homes.

Located on the adjacent site of the development in the building previously known as the Robert Arthington semi-convalescent hospital is Lighthouse School, a specialist school supporting children and young adults aged between 11-19 with an autism spectrum condition (ASC).

The baffles have enhanced the hall to offer a more enjoyable experience for everyone, whilst also reducing the sensory issues for some of the school’s students.

More recently, the hall has been used by Stonewater to launch an exclusive public art competition with the school’s sixth form students which Sally Dexter, Employability Manager at Lighthouse School, described as a “phenomenal and brilliantly inspiring event for the students.”

To launch the competition, Stonewater invited students to meet a mosaic artist, local historians and colleagues from its development team to learn about the history of Cookridge Hospital and the surrounding areas.

“By incorporating what they’ve learned, the students have each been tasked by Stonewater with designing their own mosaic with the promise that three of the designs will feature as public art for the new residents of the completed scheme to enjoy,” said Sally.

“The impact the project has had on the students has been amazing. Not only is it giving them a creative outlet and the opportunity to have their work featured as a local piece of art, but it’s also helping them to think more about their community and the role they can actively play in shaping it.”

Whilst the national lockdowns and social distancing measures has delayed the completion of the mosaic project, Stonewater is hoping to announce the winners and install the final pieces of art in the coming months.

“It’s been great to see how valuable this opportunity has been for the students at Lighthouse School,” said Martin Fox, Regional Development Manager at Stonewater.

“When we’re working to deliver a new scheme it’s important to us that we involve the community as much as we can. This has been particularly important for our Cookridge development, as it’s the first scheme based in the North that we’ve received grant funding for in a number of years.

“In Leeds alone, the local council has identified in its core strategy that at least 1,158 new affordable homes need to be built each year over the next five years to meet local demand. This has been a brilliant project to demonstrate how existing and derelict sites can be regenerated to provide much-needed affordable housing whilst also maintaining the original character and history of the building.

“We look forward to exploring more development opportunities in the local area in the future, with the aim of working to tackle the shortage of affordable housing and provide as many people as possible the opportunity to have a home that they are proud of.”