'Desperately needed' - Education centre in 'critical' situation
- Credit: Archant
An education centre established during last year's lockdown has made a desperate plea for funds in a bid to stay open.
The directors of Horizon Community Training Centre, on Hall Quay in Great Yarmouth, have said the facility could close before it even gets the chance to properly operate.
The centre, founded by Mark Shanahan in March last year, hopes to provide training for young people not in mainstream education and students with behavioural and emotional difficulties who have dropped out of school.
Gary Shanahan, uncle of Mark and director at the school, said the timing was "just unfortunate".
The pandemic and consequent restrictions have forced the centre to close its doors for most of its short existence.
"Our financial situation is a bit critical but we hope to keep the centre alive," said Mr Shanahan.
With a certain amount of reluctance, the directors have set up a gofundme page, with which they are hoping to reach what would be a "lifeline" sum of £20,000.
"Deciding to raise funds in this way was difficult because it is a begging letter. We didn't want to do it really, but we don't know where to turn now. If we can pay the business rates for the next few months, that should be enough to see us through," said Mr Shanahan.
His nephew, Mark, who will run the day-to-day activities at the centre, worked for 15 years at East Coast College.
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The experience inspired him to open his own place of learning, and after finding the former bank building on Hall Quay, he set about converting the premises into a training centre.
Gary Shanahan said the school's mission is to "stop people ending up on the scrapheap".
"Just to put one person on the road to employment, the savings to all of us and to society is great. We want to get people off the bottom rung of the ladder."
While the borough council is sympathetic with their position, the centre has to pay business rates, as the rateable value is above the threshold, he said.
"We also don't qualify for any of the coronavirus grants as we opened only last year," he added.