May 16, 2019 3.42 pm This story is over 38 months old

North East Lincolnshire leaders asked to halt skills hub closures

Campaigners say the service is Grimsby’s “best kept secret”

Campaigners will lobby the new leader of North East Lincolnshire to halt plans to axe a number of disabled and adult learning programmes in Grimsby.

North East Lincolnshire says their Freeman Street-based centre isn’t closing yet and will continue to run some services.

However, it is understood staff are currently within a period of consultation on ending several of their disabled and adult Community Learning programmes at the end of this academic year.

The centres teach between 400-700 people, including those with special education, mental or physical needs in GCSEs, job skills and learning English as a second language.

Dick Appleton, whose 45-year-old autistic daughter Sophie attends the school, said she benefitted from being taught differently to mainstream educational establishments, including taking modules at a slower pace.

The Community Learning Skills Hub on Freeman Street run by North East Lincolnshire Council. Another on Brighowgate, is run by Navigo, not the authority. Photo: Google

He said: “I’m amazed by the work they do, there’re some pupils there who have been expelled from normal schools and started out as “hopeless cases” who are now learning.

“It’s one of Grimsby’s best kept secrets,” he added.

He, alongside fellow campaigners, is now taking inspiration from the Toll Bar Roundabout saga, and hoping the new Conservative masters of North East Lincolnshire will take another look.

They say there hasn’t been enough consultation on the plans.

A petition has been launched to save the services, and those opposed to the move will gather in front of Grimsby Town Hall tomorrow [Friday] lunchtime to demonstrate.

“We don’t see any reason why they can’t overturn this – if there’s a will there’s a way,” said Mr Appleton.

“The previous council [Labour] paid the price for not being a listening council,” he added.

The plans will affect 36 staff on contracts ranging from 2.5-37 house a week – the equivalent of 27 full-time posts.

The authority says no redundancy notices have yet been issued

Another centre is also available on Brighowgate, is run by Navigo, not the council.

Philip Jackson, leader of the NEL Conservatives, is being asked to replicate his actions on Toll Bar roundabout and put a halt on the decision. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

A North East Lincolnshire Council spokesperson the move had been “a complex decision, giving consideration to the many significant challenges that the service has had to face over a number of years.”

“As a result, we’ve reviewed the position and staff are currently in a period of consultation in relation to the proposed closure of the service. Moving forward we are keen to ensure Council tax payers continue to get value for money,”

The spokesman said the current learners will be able to complete their courses, and the proposal is that the service will close at the end of the academic year.

They added that support would be in place for students and staff who may with to remain in education and funding for the service would continue to “benefit local people”.

The hub itself will remain open and in use by some services, including the National Careers Service.

Rumours Franklin College would be taking over have been refuted by the council, who said it has “never been suggested”.

Councillor Jackson has been asked to comment on the request.

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