Cuts forced Pontypool education centre to share office
1:41pm Friday 11th July 2014 in News
A POPULAR education centre will be forced to share its facilities as council chiefs seek to slash £90,000 from its budget.
The Settlement centre in Trosnant Street, Pontypool, has provided education services to adults for decades.
But from September, the upper floor will be made available for office accommodation as part of austerity cutbacks by cash-strapped Torfaen council.
The centre’s IT suite will move downstairs and course timetables may have to change.
Diane Larcombe, 65, a patchwork tutor, is being asked to fit all of her lessons in one day.
She said: “We are disgusted. The Settlement is an adult community education centre.
“This place is for the community. It is not for Torfaen council to use it as offices.
“It is such a shame. We have got people in their 80s. If they cannot come here, they’re going to be stuck in their house and it’s going to make it more difficult for them.”
Grandmother Carole Richards is a member of the Jolly Stitchers group based at the centre.
Ms Richards, 72, said: “I just feel so upset they are not able to maintain the purpose the centre was built for. I worry it is really limiting the life of so many people.”
A Torfaen council spokesman said yesterday: “Due to funding cuts from Welsh Government which have affected both the council and Coleg Gwent, the council’s adult education service is required to find savings of £90,000 in the 2014/15 financial year.
"Savings of this scale cannot be achieved without having to take some very difficult decisions.
“The service has looked at a range of options to ensure that it can meet the curriculum priorities of Welsh Government and continue to provide a programme of learning throughout Torfaen, including reviewing the usage of its buildings.
“From September, adult education will share its accommodation at the Pontypool Community Education Centre, and the Power Station in Cwmbran with other services.
"This has already been done successfully for several years at Croesyceiliog Community Education Centre, helping to generate income to support and sustain these buildings as places for adult learning."