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Farewell to Wymondham Learning Centre

PUBLISHED: 14:56 15 July 2010 | UPDATED: 15:04 02 August 2010

Yesterday was a poignant day for a south Norfolk adult learning centre as it took its last class before preparing to shut its doors for good.

Bosses behind the Wymondham Learning Centre announced in May that the valued facility would be closing after succumbing to a six-year funding shortfall.

Yesterday was a poignant day for a south Norfolk adult learning centre as it took its last class before preparing to shut its doors for good.

Bosses behind the Wymondham Learning Centre announced in May that the valued facility would be closing after succumbing to a six-year funding shortfall.

It has now been confirmed that the nine-year-old centre, which has helped thousands of people further their careers and become a social hub for the town's community, will end its days on July 31.

On Tuesday, staff invited learners past and present back to the centre, based at Wymondham High School, to reminiscence and raise a glass in farewell to their beloved facility.

Kate Wood, chairman of the trustees of Wymondham Learning Initiative which set-up the centre, said: “I feel very sad but quite proud. It's been a great achievement to have 10 years of improved learning for the adults of Wymondham.

“It's really regrettable but I'm just grateful for the staff who have stuck with it through thin and thin.”

Wymondham Learning Initiative was founded in 2000. It opened its first IT based learning centre the following year behind the town council offices in Middleton Street. Three years ago it relocated to a new building at Wymondham High School.

The centre offered computer literacy courses, but also invited other adult education providers to use the facility to teach subjects such as English and Maths.

It was initially funded by the National Lottery, Norfolk Learning and Skills Council, Norfolk County Council and South Norfolk Council, but lost its core funding in 2004.

The initiative continued to scrape together the £30,000 needed a year to keep the service going but after a six-year effort has decided it cannot go on any more. Its outreach IT courses in Diss, Harleston, Loddon and Hingham will be cancelled and three members of staff have lost their jobs.

Wymondham residents will now have to travel to Attleborough to reach their nearest learning centre.

Retired home carer Pat Caddy, 72, of Northfield Gardens, Wymondham, who has attended the centre for eight years, said it would be sadly missed.

“It's given me a new lease of life. I've made lots of friends,” she said.

“I'm very disappointed because there's a lot of people who still want to learn but are not going to have the opportunities we did.”

Jessica Martin, 26, of Tuttles Lane, Wymondham, who works as a volunteer at the town library, said she will struggle to continue her learning because she does not drive. The centre has provided her with IT and numeracy qualifications.

“It's such a shame for lots of people who don't like going to the large places. You feel comfortable and safe,” she said.

The initiative will meet in September to discuss its future, while the centre's building will be incorporated into the high school.

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