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Major boost for adult learning after community centre revamp

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A major refurbishment of March Community Centre has been completed which will help deliver enhanced skills training, community learning and community space and participation.

The revamp has taken place thanks to a grant of £400,000 from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s Business Board’s Local Growth Fund.

This has seen the main centre and outbuildings redesigned and refurbished with the improvements including three additional teaching rooms, a large open plan reception area, two new office spaces, new security features and upgraded facilities - such as a changing space - and it will be the lifeblood for learners and residents in Fenland.

In the photo are: MP Steve Barclay and Mayor Dr Nik Johnson with Cllrs Jan French and John Gowing and Tanya Meadows, head of adult learning and skills at Cambridgeshire County Council. (52919779)
In the photo are: MP Steve Barclay and Mayor Dr Nik Johnson with Cllrs Jan French and John Gowing and Tanya Meadows, head of adult learning and skills at Cambridgeshire County Council. (52919779)

It will also provide an administrative base for the council’s Adult and Community Learning Service, Cambridgeshire Skills, to reach out to communities across local towns and villages to provide them with place-based learning opportunities and an expanded range of options for community hire.

The aim is to provide to 141 direct jobs, 68 apprenticeships and 695 new learners on courses in the next three years as a result of the funding.

The combined authority is responsible for the adult education budget across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and already provides more than £2 million a year to Cambridgeshire Skills to deliver skills training and community learning. One of the mayoral authority’s priorities is to upskill residents in Fenland to support their social and economic wellbeing, which will be assisted by the revamp to the community centre.

To mark the works being completed, a ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Friday with Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson, who leads the combined authority.

Mayor Dr Johnson said: “Almost nowhere in England has greater need for investment in education, skills and training than Fenland, and this upgrade of March Community Centre is part of our commitment to investing back into the district.

“We know the challenges and now it is about action and this investment will make a direct and positive impact on the lives of many in Fenland, improving their job and pay prospects, and most importantly contributing to better health and wellbeing. It was fantastic to see the results of this grant funding and I look forward to continuing to work with our partners at Cambridgeshire Skills.”

Cllr Tom Sanderson, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee, said: “The new facilities at March Community Centre look superb and will make a huge difference to hundreds of people across Fenland looking to learn new skills.

“I would like to thank the combined authority for providing the funding for the improvements and look forward to seeing the difference this will make across the district.”

Austen Adams, chair of the Business Board, said: “It’s fantastic to see another LGF investment through the combined authority Business Board come to fruition. One of the key focuses of the Business Board is supporting a fair and speedy recovery from Covid-19 and better skills is a key pillar in that aim. We want a better skilled workforce in Fenland, more apprentices, more job opportunities, better pay and we want to support local employers with the talent they need to grow. This investment ticks those boxes.”

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