USERS of a popular education centre are mounting a protest in an attempt to stop council chiefs implementing austerity cuts threatening to curtail its activities.
Torfaen council confirmed this summer that it planned to share facilities at The Settlement centre in Pontypool from September as part of £90,000 cutbacks.
The centre in Trosnant Street, Pontypool, has provided valuable education services to adults for decades.
Centre users warned that some courses may be discontinued and timetables need to be changed as lecturers contend with smaller facilities.
Torfaen council acknowledged the number of rooms available at the centre would be reduced but stressed the proposals would help generate income to sustain the building as a place of learning.
Now centre user Caroline Richards is inviting people to attend a protest against the cuts at a nearby facility called Trosnant House in Trosnant Street, from 10am next Tuesday [August 19].
Ms Richards, 73, of Five Locks Close, Cwmbran, said: “We wish to strongly reinforce to Torfaen county borough council that we simply disagree with their council offices being set up on the upper floor of the centre, thus seriously diminishing the activities and facilities that it has always delivered so well.
“This cutback affects the health, welfare and progression in life for so many Torfaen residents.
“We really want them to understand we are upset about it. We really think they are so short sighted.”
A Torfaen council spokesman said in a statement issued last month: “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.
“From September, adult education will share its accommodation at the Pontypool Community Education Centre and the Power Station in Cwmbran with other services.
“Clearly, this reduces the number of rooms available for adult learning and we are in consultation with staff and service users on the changes that will need to be in place for next academic year.
“The council hopes that by making these changes it can maintain a presence of adult learning throughout the borough.”