ECL Colchester - Woodlands Day Centre

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Tel: 0333 013 5438

Mon - Fri: 8:30 - 16:30

Sat - Sun: Closed

Free trial available

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We are a fun-filled day centre that aspires to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and/or autism. We listen to, and involve our customers every step of the way.

About us

We have a skilled, approachable team who are dedicated to enhancing the lives of our customers. We work with you to find out what makes you happy and what goals you want to achieve in all aspects of your life. We create a personalised support programme to help you reach those goals, while having fun and making friends along the way.

At ECL Colchester we place a strong emphasis on communication, giving you the choice and control to live your life the way you choose.

We use a variety of communication approaches dependent on the needs and preferences of the individual, including: speech apps, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), objects of reference, intensive interaction, and makaton. We use technology such as tablets and smart speakers to support communication for those that respond well to a tech-based approach.

We have an active customer-led forum which enables customers to share their views and ideas. More able customers support their less verbal peers, helping to capture their views and being their voice.

We encourage a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure all aspects of a person's are joined up and the best they can be. We involve families and professionals as appropriate. This can include behavioural support services, social care, community nursing, speech and language, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and existing care providers.

We also work closely with schools and colleges to help prepare school leavers for transition from education to adulthood.

Local community

Based on the outskirts of Colchester we have many community destinations to choose from, including a huge choice of shops, cafes, and restaurants in the city centre. We also have easy access to the coastal and countryside beauty spots of Brightlingsea, Dedham, Mersea, Flatford, Sudbury, and the Wivenhoe trail, giving us many opportunities to get some exercise and immerse ourselves in nature.

We regularly pay a trip to the cinema, bowling alley, and swimming pool. These sorts of leisure activities are not only pleasurable, but allow us to work on our social interaction and money handling skills.

At the Stanway Lakelands Centre we take part in community sports, and activities and at Castle Park we learn about Colchester's heritage while sitting, walking, enjoying music, playing games, or picnicking amongst wonderful flowers and trees.

Whenever we can, we use public transport to get to our destinations allowing us to practise planning a journey, read timetables, and travel safely.

Some of our customers are keen gardeners and volunteer at the 'Seed and Soil' market garden, bringing back vegetables to be included in the meals we prepare at the centre.

Visiting the local garden centres to buy plants and seeds for our allotment is also a favourite activity with our gardening group.

Centre based activities

At ECL Colchester - Woodlands you will have lots of learning opportunities to help you gain the skills you need to reach your personal goals.

ACL (Adult Community Learning) come to our centre and deliver courses in creative arts, woodwork, performing arts, and 'find your voice'.

The staff at ECL Colchester - Woodlands are trained in ASDAN and offer learning sessions in independent living skills, sensory baking, sensory, horticulture and digital skills. At the centre our independent living skills sessions is 'shop and cook' where customers plan a meal, shop for ingredients and prepare the meal either back at the centre or at home.

We have an active gardening group which enjoys growing vegetables and maintaining a vegetable patch at a local allotment.

For more therapeutic activities we offer sensory story creation, sensory relaxation, chair fit, meditation and mindfulness, and arts and crafts. Our customers are fully involved in planning and running these activities alongside the staff.

Who we support

We can support customers with a diverse range of support needs; including those with learning disabilities, profound and multiple learning disabilities, autism, communication difficulties, and health requirements such as epilepsy.

Our site is fully accessible and has facilities to meet the needs of our customers in wheelchairs or with restricted mobility.

We can offer expert care for people on modified diets or need enteral feeding.

Our dedicated staff team have a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience within care to help every individual meet their daily aims and objectives. They receive training (as appropriate for the customers they are supporting) in:

  • Dysphagia
  • Enteral feeding
  • Moving and handling
  • Autism
  • Mental Health
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Communication
  • Intensive Interaction
  • Active Support
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy with Buccal Training
  • Objects of reference
  • Makaton

We can work with individuals on a 1:1 or greater basis, in line with your needs and care plan.

We will review your progress and needs on a regular basis and are able to refer to our in-house clinicians, inclusive employment, and innovation teams to ensure you continue to progress with us.


At ECL we work with you to identify your goals and put together a tailored plan unique to you. One of our team will assess the level of support you need, and prices will be based on the recommendations, along with how many sessions you would like to attend.

man with learning disabilities with a member of day centre support staff

Find us

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Recreation Road


  • Sensory room
  • Interactive spaces
  • OMI/Integrex interactive projection system
  • Accessible bathroom
  • Hoists
  • Accessible garden
  • TACPAC sensory communication resource