A training course centre at St Annes’ Ashton Gardens – designed to help the unemployed back into work – is being closed today by Blackpool and The Fylde College after funding cuts.
The Build Up project, which has only run for 12 months at the site, taught basic skills such as drainage, paving and bricklaying.
The closure will see current trainees transferring to the college’s Bispham campus to complete their training.
The St Annes centre, which shares the site with Fylde Council gardeners, has been deserted for weeks, with the only visitors being Community Payback offenders who are being used to clear up the rubble-strewn site.
But Christine Richards, employability and skills project manager at Blackpool and The Fylde College’s Bispham campus, offered some reassurance to students about the centre’s future:
“We are all waiting to know about our funding – all the colleges and universities across the country are having their funding cut and at the moment we are all in the same boat,” she said.
“We need to know what kind of money will be available to us and we hope to know this before the end of April.
“The college has supported over 1,000 people across the Fylde coast get into work over the last year, bettering peoples lives. It’s what we are about.”
Ms Richards added: “There are companies waiting with jobs to employ these people but we can’t put them forward without proper training, and until the funding picture is clearer we won’t be able to know what areas will stay and which may have to go.”
Only two years ago, the project received a National Training Award for its efforts in getting the unemployed back into work.