July 2, 2019 11.57 am This story is over 28 months old

North East Lincolnshire councillors to call for halt to skills hub closure

Campaigners describe it as the town’s “best kept secret”

Councillors will call for a halt to the closure of a number of disabled and adult learning programmes after campaigners lodged a 2,800 signature petition.

Members of the Labour opposition on North East Lincolnshire Council will call on the authority to keep the Community Learning Service at the Skills Hub open.

Councillor Matthew Patrick, leader of the Labour group, will also call for a select committee to be formed in order to investigate the decision to close the service.

The Skills Hub, which is based on Freeman Street in Grimsby and teaches between 400 and 700 people, is earmarked to close a number of its programmes by the authority at the end of the academic year.

The centre teaches people with special education, mental or physical needs in GCSEs, job skills and learning English as a second language.

Campaigners described the centre as one of the town’s “best kept secrets” and said there had not been enough consultation on the closure.

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

The council said 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.”

Councillor Matthew Patrick, Labour group leader on North East Lincolnshire Council. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

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

Meanwhile, Councillor Patrick will say in a motion before a special full council meeting that the service needs to remain open “as much as possible in its form prior to the decision to close”.

“The decision to close was not taken lightly, and we never wanted to see it happen,” he will say.

“However, following that decision, new information has surfaced that might provide an opportunity to maintain the services in whole or in part as it is now.”

Councillors will discuss the motion at a full council meeting on July 4.

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