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Councillors propose funding request for East Coast College

PUBLISHED: 16:04 10 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:04 10 July 2019

ambitions restuarnt

ambitions restuarnt

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A request for government funding for a Norfolk college set to close its training restaurant will be discussed at Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

A service underway at Ambitions, the training restaurant at East Coast College in Great Yarmouth, which is under threat of closure. Former student Sammie Sparrow (far left) has launched a petition to save it. Picture: Andrew FloridesA service underway at Ambitions, the training restaurant at East Coast College in Great Yarmouth, which is under threat of closure. Former student Sammie Sparrow (far left) has launched a petition to save it. Picture: Andrew Florides

At a meeting of full council on Thursday (July 11), Town Hall will consider writing to the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills to reinstate funding for East Coast College.

The third-level facility announced two months ago it will close Ambitions, the training restaurant at its Great Yarmouth campus, in September.

The decision follows a merger between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Colleges to form East Coast College two years ago.

Five Labour Party councillors will put forward the motion on the future of the college.

Councillor Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ella WilkinsonCouncillor Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

The motion states: "In light of the recent decision by East Coast College to relocate some skills courses from Great Yarmouth to Lowestoft due to draconian government cuts to college funding, Great Yarmouth Borough Council urgently writes to request that the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills reinstates adequate funding to allow East Coast College to provide the necessary courses at the Great Yarmouth campus to ensure all our residents have access to develop skills commensurate with the needs of all our industries."

Former students have labelled the decision to close Ambitions "heartbreaking", with some lamenting the closure of a training restaurant that has produced a string of top chefs.

The notice of motion is signed by councillors Tony Wright, Barbara Wright, Trevor Wainwright, Kerry Robinson-Payne and Carol Borg.

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They write: "In particular we are disappointed that the cuts have led to the closure of Ambitions Restaurant which not only was a place for residents to experience first-hand the skills of students, but played a significant part in providing our tourism service industry with staff that have attained all the necessary skills required to maintain a high quality offering to tourists and local residents."

The councillors said they recognise the students will still have catering and hospitality courses on the Great Yarmouth campus.

"However, the fact remains that the ability to have practical experience in a restaurant environment is vital to the students' development and the requirement for them now to travel to Lowestoft will undoubtedly create difficulties, especially for students from our northern villages and North Norfolk," the councillors said.

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