The Base launches at Arden Grove

The Base is one of four new purpose-built bases in the county providing support to children with social, emotional and mental health needs.

The Wensum Trust, in partnership with Norfolk County Council, has officially launched The Base at Arden Grove Infant and Nursery School, a Specialist Resource Base (SRB) that changes lives by supporting children with managing their emotions and behaviour.

The Base at Arden Grove

One of four new purpose-built bases in the county providing support to children with social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH), the provision is part of Norfolk County Council’s £120m transformation of special educational needs. Initially starting with a small group of
eight children aged four to seven years, The Base has capacity to cater for 16 children.

Taking best practice from all over the UK and Europe including support from Peter Fonagy, (CEO of the Anna Freud Centre) and Brenda McHugh, (Co-Founder of the Family School in Islington), The Base opened its doors in January 2022.


The Base at Arden GroveThe purpose built 271m2 square feet building has two classrooms, a practical area, a kitchen and calm rooms. Smaller class sizes, higher staffing ratios, an educational psychologist and a family learning team all aim to provide early support so children can return to mainstream education.

Daniel Thrower, CEO of The Wensum Trust adds; “We are delighted that the SRB is open. We know the provision has to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing needs of young children with SEMH. It cannot remain static. We aspire to work further with Norfolk County Council to not only develop the provision but to open more specialist units. We want to offer every child the very best regardless of background or early life adversities”.


The Base at Arden GroveFollowing research that shows one in six school-aged children has a mental health problem (NHS Digital 2020), The Wensum Trust also plans to develop a cutting-edge research and training arm to enable expertise to be widely shared with families and professionals.

Michael Bateman, Assistant Director for SEND Strategic Improvement at Norfolk County Council adds: “This is a great step forward in Norfolk County Council’s programme to transform SEND provision in the county.

“This base is an excellent new resource for children and their families, providing them with the extra specialist support youngsters with social, emotional and mental health needs required to thrive and progress in their education.”

The Base launch at Arden GroveChloe Smith, who has been a Member of The Wensum Trust since 2016 and involved with this project since the outset, adds: “After years of hard work, I’m thrilled to help open The Base at Arden Grove Infant School. The team at the Trust have been inspiring and utterly dedicated in their efforts for young people who need this kind of support, and it’s those young people in Norfolk who will now benefit.

“As we recover from the pandemic, I know how incredibly important it is to protect and support the mental health of children and young people in our community. Across the UK more than £17 million has been announced to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges and I am delighted to see this Government investment being spent in Norwich thanks to the Priority Education Investment Area.”

Find out more about Arden Grove Infant and Primary School here.