Learning centre to close
AN educational centre is to close with the risk of five jobs being lost. The Learning Shop in Saffron Road, Biggleswade, which is run by Bedford College, will close on July 31. It was opened in 2001. The facility has been popular with pensioners who have
AN educational centre is to close with the risk of five jobs being lost.
The Learning Shop in Saffron Road, Biggleswade, which is run by Bedford College, will close on July 31. It was opened in 2001.
The facility has been popular with pensioners who have learned to use computers and many other systems at the unit.
One pensioner who has attended courses at The Learning Shop said it was a big blow for people of all ages to lose the centre.
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"Pensioners will miss it. It gives many of them a new lease of life," said Carol Hornsby of Holme Court Avenue, Biggleswade, who is also secretary of the Biggleswade and District Pensioners' Association.
"Lots of pensioners go there and I love doing courses at the shop. It is a big blow and now we are being told if we want to continue courses we have to go to Bedford College.
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"Many people who are using the shop now don't want the hassle of travelling that far. At the moment you just have to walk down into the centre of Biggleswade.
"Pensioners will certainly miss the place because it is not only a place of learning but a place where they can socialise and meet other people."
Ken Lynch, chairman of the association said: "It is another example of a community facility being taken away without any thought about those who use it.
"This was a vital centre for pensioners and they enjoyed going there to learn new things they wouldn't have thought of doing a few years ago."
A spokesman for Bedford College said a decline in interest and the lease coming to an end was behind their decision to close the shop.
"It has been a great success with over 800 students in the first year of operation," said a spokesman.
"However, enrolments have declined in recent years and our lease has come to an end.
"Regrettably the centre cannot be sustained on the level of enrolment and the government has reduced our targets and funding for adult education.
"We are committed to providing training in Biggleswade and expect to develop further our site at Eldon Way.
"The college is a major employer and we will be working hard to see if we can accommodate staff members in other areas.