End of term

PUBLISHED: 12:03 08 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:17 06 May 2010

The Learning Shop in Saffron Street, Biggleswade

The Learning Shop in Saffron Street, Biggleswade

PENSIONER power is behind plans to try and keep open an educational centre. The Learning Shop in Saffron Street, Biggleswade, is due to close on July 31. It was opened in 2001. The facility has been popular with pensioners, single people and the unemploye

PENSIONER power is behind plans to try and keep open an educational centre.

The Learning Shop in Saffron Street, Biggleswade, is due to close on July 31. It was opened in 2001.

The facility has been popular with pensioners, single people and the unemployed who have gone there to learn computer skills.

But Bedford College, which runs the centre, says it is no longer viable to keep it open because of falling numbers.

This week members of the Biggleswade and District Pensioners Association, under the chairmanship of Ken Lynch, formed a fighting committee to try and keep it open.

On Saturday the group will be in Biggleswade town centre asking people to sign a petition to back their plan to try and get the college to reverse its decision.

They are also appealing to local MPs Alistair Burt and Nadine Dorries to support them in their fight.

"The Learning Shop is a vital part of the community in Biggleswade and we, the Biggleswade and District Pensioners' Association, have decided to fight the college decision before it is too late and the shop is closed for ever," said Mr Lynch.

"Since the closure was announced no official body like the town council or Mid Beds Council has come forward to condemn the closure.

"Now the pensioners of Biggleswade are going to fight for people much younger than them to keep this learning facility open.

"This shop was opened for the people of Biggleswade and should stay open. We want the people of Biggleswade to back us on Saturday and show what they feel about the closure by signing the petition.

"Only if we all join forces and pull together will we have a chance of keeping the shop open and make Bedford College listen to the people of Biggleswade."

The college said in a statement three weeks ago that there had been a decline in interest in the shop which is why it was being closed.

"Enrolments have declined in recent years and the lease has come to an end," said a spokesman.

"Regrettably the centre cannot be sustained on the level of enrolment and the Government has reduced our targets and funding for adult education. We expect to develop further our site in Eldon Way.

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