A Centre for Disability Studies, proposed for Essex, has received more than £1.5 million of backing and aims to start building early next month.
The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has agreed to award Disability Essex's eco-sustainable centre in Rochford £750,000 through the Building Communities Fund and another £790,851 through the European Regional Development Fund.
The cash injection has completed the first phase of fundraising for the centre, which needed £2 million for the construction of the building.
Disability Essex has already raised the other £500,000, so work can now start on the centre, on land next to Rochford Adult Community College, in March.
Disability Essex plans to make the Centre for Disability Studies' a pioneering eco-sustainable building. It will house the charity's operational headquarters and a professionally accredited training centre.
The charity said it had chosen to design and construct the building with sustainability in mind - both to minimise the impact on the environment and maximise longevity for the thousands of people who will use it.
Richard Boyd, chief executive at Disability Essex, said the centre would also provide meeting and conference rooms for community use.
He said: "Disability Essex is a charity which is committed to encouraging and supporting disabled people into employment. Given that the health of the environment has a fundamental impact on our operations, our beneficiaries and their surroundings, we aim to integrate environmental matters into our core work."
The charity is now embarking on the second phase of funding to raise about £250,000 for the fixtures and fittings, including eco-friendly additions such as solar panels and wind-turbines.
Once completed the centre, which aims to meet the highest European environmental standards, will deliver business support and training opportunities in innovative and sustainable construction methods. It will train up to 250 people in its first year - with an emphasis on women returners, ex-service personnel and people with disabilities
EEDA chair Richard Ellis said: "Innovation and skills are key to the region's economy and the training offered by this centre, will help lift us out of these tough economic times.
"The centre will be a practical teaching tool for people of all abilities, as visitors will be able to see how we can make buildings totally accessible and reduce our carbon in innovative ways.
"The demand for skills in green, accessible construction techniques will increase as we prepare for the 2012 Paralympic Games."
The building will use a variety of sustainable construction methods, including the use of local and recycled materials. It will also incorporate renewable energy generation and will create 95% less carbon dioxide than an average building.
EEDA works to support sustainable economic regeneration in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. It aims to make the region internationally competitive, harnessing the talent of all and be at the forefront of the low carbon economy. For further information visit www.eeda.org.uk
Disability Essex aims to help people with any disability to control their own lives and enjoy to the full the opportunities which society, the economy and the environment offer. For more information go to www.essexdpa.org.
Dash.com, 5th February 2009