Ascent Autism Specialist College launches ‘Hubway’ project 

Ascent Autism Specialist College, Newton-le-Willows, has launched the ‘Hubway’ project, an initiative run by two students, Will and Tarran, to help them develop entrepreneurial skills and support them to integrate socially with their peers from the college’s main site. 

Will and Tarran who are both based at the college’s Lyme and Wood Hub, worked together to develop this unique project. The site name was an influence when the students decided on a name for the project. 

The Hubway is an eat-in café where students prepare and serve fresh sub rolls with a choice of tasty fillings for staff and students to enjoy. 

The college also developed a takeaway service as part of the Hubway, dubbed ‘Huberoo’, which runs on Monday and Thursday. 

The Huberoo service allows fellow staff and students to place orders via email, with students working at the Hubway café preparing orders fresh on the day and delivering the tasty rolls. 

Katie Hancock, a teacher at Ascent College, has led on the project. She said: “The idea originally came about when we were trying to think of ways to ensure that students in Ascent 7 continued to integrate with their peers from the main college site. 

“Will and Tarran have played a crucial role in developing the business model ideas, including selecting the delivery service name and designing menus and posters to promote Hubway.”

After just four weeks, the Hubway project has been hugely successful, and the student duo already have ambitious plans to develop it further, including introducing a feedback form that will help them understand their customers (fellow students) and plans to introduce toasted sandwiches to the menu. 

The feedback from staff and students has been overwhelmingly positive. Deputy head of adult services, Phil Adams, said: “Delicious food with efficient and courteous service at an excellent value. A brilliant, five-star service run by two incredible students. I am now a Hubway regular.”

Teaching assistant, Simon, said: “They offer a fantastic, friendly service. The ingredients are always fresh and full of flavour. They give the perfect ratio of sauce to fillings and I’m looking forward to ordering my next Hubway.”

Fellow students also shared in the excitement for Hubway, commenting on how much they enjoyed the tasty food. 

Student Aron said: “Five out of five! I really like the barbeque chicken on Italian bread they make.”

While student Sean said: “10 out of 10. I love the selection of ingredients that I can pick from. I like to challenge myself with an extra hot Hubway sauce.” 

Student Max added how Hubway even caters to non-meat eaters. He said: “I always have the Italian bread with plant-based chicken and a side salad. It has a great mixture of vegetables. I really like it.”

Both students have taken ownership of the project and have even taken on specific roles as part of the initiative. One student is currently acting as the business manager, managing the Hubway budget, and he has even created his own budgeting spreadsheet to monitor costs. 

While the other student manages stock control, assessing stock levels and determining what stock is needed to fulfil orders. 

Head of adult services at Ascent Autism Specialist College, Julliet Doherty, said: “The Hubway project is one of the many initiatives we run to support our students in developing life-long transferrable skills. 

“At Ascent College, we place a huge emphasis on employability and ensuring our students have access to experiences and opportunities that help them develop the skills required to enter the world of work, whether on a volunteering basis or full-time employment.

Julliet added: “The Hubway project has been an incredible opportunity for Ascent 7 students to be involved in every aspect of running a successful business, from budgeting to customer service to marketing. 

Julliet added: “The food has been of exceptional quality, fresh, tasty and delivered efficiently and professionally. The service from the order to receiving my receipt via email from Will and Tarran is outstanding. 

“I am hugely proud of both student’s entrepreneurial acumen and aspiration to grow this wonderful project into a profit-making small business. I look forward to many more delicious lunches made by these two remarkable young men.” 

At the Lyme and Wood site, students help to look after a range of animals, kept in enclosures adjacent to the classroom. The students currently have rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks and tortoises and they have plans to add goats to their growing family of animals in the near future. 

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