A new home and a new chapter for Paces School

A Sheffield special school has unveiled plans to move into one of the city’s iconic buildings as it looks to improve facilities for existing pupils and open its doors to more young people in the future.

The announcement comes as the charity launches a crowdfunding bond offer to raise capital for the project, giving supporters, the local community and people across the UK the opportunity to invest as little as £50 to help the school thrive.

Paces School for Conductive Education supports children living with Cerebral Palsy and other motor disorders. It has been based at High Green for over 20 years, but the current building needs a huge amount of work and cannot be expanded to allow more children to be supported.

Last year, a campaign to move to a new home was launched and hundreds of thousands of pounds has been raised by the likes of Paces pupil ‘Captain’ Tobias Weller and his marathon challenges.

The original plan was to move to a new centre built specifically for Paces, but the impact of Covid-19 on charities and developments mean the plans have had to change.

The School’s new home will be at Thorncliffe Hall, less than one mile from the current site, and less than two miles from Smithy Wood which will be the new home for Paces Living, the charity’s adult services provision, and the charity’s operations team.

Thorncliffe Hall is based within the Thorncliffe Business Park and dates back to the 1790s and the dawn of the industrial revolution. The 18,000 square foot building will undergo a complete refurbishment and will include:

  • classroom spaces that have their own adapted bathrooms
  • a sensory room
  • a playground and sensory garden
  • office spaces, staffroom spaces and meeting rooms


The project will cost more than £1 million and it is hoped that the School can move into Thorncliffe as soon as possible once work is completed.


Dr Spencer Pitfield, Chief Executive of Paces, said:

“In the past 12 months, a vast amount has changed for us all. Behind the scenes, as well as the huge amount of work to keep our School going during the pandemic, our Trustees, School Governors and staff have been working tirelessly to drive this project forward and to make sure we do indeed get a new home that is worthy of our amazing young people and their families.

“These plans are a new chapter for us – they have to reflect that times have changed. Making a new home a reality was never going to be easy, and that job has only got harder. But the urgent and clear need for a new home remains. Thorncliffe Hall allows us to achieve that, and soon. It is an exciting moment for Paces.”


Ruth Liu, Headteacher of Paces School, said:

“We want to make sure we can deliver better facilities for our existing superstar pupils, and support more children and families, as soon as possible.

“Thorncliffe Hall will, when refurbished, include many of the elements that our discussions with our children, parents, carers, teachers and staff identified as being important for a new home. It is also rooted in the community we have been part of for the past 24 years.

“I can’t wait for the opportunities our new home will bring now and for the future.”


Julie Booth, Head of Fundraising at Paces, said:

“Over the past year, so many individuals and businesses have signed up to support our campaign to build a new home and I know they will share our excitement at these new plans to make that happen. They may be different to the original ideas, but they reflect that we are living in a world none of us could have imagined 18 months ago.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported us to get to this point and look forward to working hard to secure the investment still required to develop Thorncliffe Hall to the very highest of specifications which our pupils of today and tomorrow deserve.”

One way in which Paces will now look to raise funds to support the move is by partnering with Triodos Bank UK. Working together, they will look to raise £1.5 million through a new bond offer on the Triodos Crowdfunding platform.

For investors, the 8-year bond will pay 6% gross interest per year, with a minimum investment of £50. Investors can also select a lower rate of interest of 3% or 0% to further support the charity. It is also available within the tax-efficient Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) wrapper. As with all investments, interest payments and return of capital are not guaranteed and like all ISAs, the IFISA is subject to eligibility criteria.


Dan Hird, Head of Corporate Finance at Triodos Bank UK, added:

“We really admire this charity and it’s fantastic to be involved with the opportunity to help them refurbish a new larger home for the school. It will enable Paces to support so many more children from Yorkshire and beyond, making a huge difference to their lives.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, people are looking for ways to invest their money to support organisations that will make a positive impact on society over the long term. This bond offer allows ordinary investors to support a milestone project for a fantastic charity.”


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