Yarmouth students battle over project cuts

GREAT Yarmouth College students fighting to save a pioneering volunteering project took their battle to MP Brandon Lewis to enlist his support.

Students on the college’s Vtalent programme –due to lose its two-year funding next summer– met with the MP at his surgery at Hemsby to voice their concerns.

Great Yarmouth College is one of only 28 colleges in Britain chosen to pilot Vtalent, which offers youngsters with poor job prospects – many with limited qualifications – a way back into training, mixing study with volunteering on the campus for which they are credited with a certificate.

However, funding cuts now make it unlikely the pilot will be extended into a third year.

Led by 17-year-old Amelia Acaster, the group put their case and outlined the benefits of the project.

Project co-ordinator Yvonne Gibbs said: “Amelia was mortified when I told her the course might not carry on next year. She raised the point that volunteering fitted in so well with David Cameron’s Big Society.”

At the meeting, Mr Lewis explained that their concerns should be directed at county councillors because Parliament didn’t allocate funds.

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Individual letters were often more effective than petitions, he said, before offering to accompany the students to County Hall in Norwich if they managed to collect enough signatures.