Town to get new community college

By Juliette MaxamFUNDING has been secured for a new state-of-the-art adult community college.The Learning and Skills Council, Essex, and Essex County Council have both pledged £824,000 towards the new college, bringing the total funding to £2.

By Juliette Maxam

FUNDING has been secured for a town to get a new state-of-the-art adult community college.

The Learning and Skills Council, Essex, and Essex County Council have both pledged £824,000 towards the new college, bringing the total funding to £2.15million, which means the plan can now move off the drawing board.

The college, to be built near John Bramston School in Witham, will be the first custom-built centre for the North Essex Adult Community College after many years of operating through a wide range of community venues throughout Braintree and Halstead.

Construction work on the site could start later this year, with a proposed completion date of 2005/2006. Administrative and a broad range of learning facilities will be located there.

It will also provide an opportunity for North Essex Adult Community College, which has more than 7,500 adult students, to extend its work to include adult workshops and summer schools across the Braintree district.

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But classes will still be held in towns in the district for students who prefer to remain in their immediate community.

Welcoming the announcement of the funding package, North Essex Adult Community College principal, Sue Bellamy, said: "This is wonderful news for all our learners throughout Witham, Braintree and Halstead.

"After so many years of being on split sites and making do, the new state-of-the-art building could be open by the end of next year.

"It will mean terrific new learning opportunities for all our students and boost what we are able to offer as a community college. We will also be able to offer specialised courses for all adults across the Braintree district through workshops and summer schools.

"The college has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and this has been recognised and rewarded in securing this significant capital funding."

Jennifer Rolph, head of lifelong learning at Learning and Skills Council, Essex, added: "This project acknowledges the excellent collaborative and developmental work of North Essex Adult Community College.

"These new premises, together with the wide range of courses offered, will ensure that even more people, in this fast growing area, will be encouraged to try out and. hopefully continue learning.

Bonnie Hart, Essex County Council cabinet member for lifelong learning and libraries said last year more than 47,000 adults enrolled on courses in the Essex County Council area, an increase of more than 7% on the previous year.

"We are delighted to be increasing facilities so that more people can take advantage of our huge range of courses. We are committed to providing the very best opportunities for all," she added.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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