Dr Neil Hudson MP for Penrith and The Border this week in Education Questions in the House Commons highlighted the uncertainty facing Newton Rigg College in Penrith and called for support for his campaign to secure a viable future for this vital educational institution.
In his question to the Further Education Minister, Dr Hudson stated that the Coronavirus pandemic had thrown into sharp relief the importance of food production and security, and the critical area of health and social care. Newton Rigg College in Penrith has over 1000 learners and 130 staff and trains people in vital areas such as agriculture, land-based studies and health and social care. Neil asked for the Department for Education and other Government Departments to work with him and local stakeholders to try and secure a viable and sustainable future of Newton Rigg.
In her response to Dr Neil Hudson MP, Gillian Keegan MP agreed that her hon Friend (Dr Hudson) was absolutely right. “My hon. Friend and I have met twice with the Further Education Commissioner to discuss this, at my hon. Friend’s request, so I know he will continue to campaign on this issue.”
Speaking after the Commons session, Neil said “I am delighted that the Further Education Minister agreed that Further Education Colleges are vital for supporting young people in rural communities to get the skills they need, and that her office is working with the college and stakeholders to ensure that learners in and around the Eden Valley continue to have access to high-quality further education.”
This welcome news comes as Neil Hudson continues with his campaign to save the Newton Rigg Campus. Throughout the campaign, Neil has brought together local stakeholders, and has gathered cross-party support including Tim Farron MP, the Labour-led County Council and the Lib Dem-led Eden District Council. Further meetings with Newton Rigg Staff and industry leaders take place later this week. The full dialogue and the petition can be found on Neil’s website www.neilhudson.org.uk