MP for Penrith and The Border, Dr Neil Hudson met with Victoria Edwards, Chief Executive of The Ernest Cook Trust to discuss the future of Low Beckside Farm.
Low Beckside farm is part of the Newton Rigg estate, which was put up for sale by current owners, Askham Bryan College following their decision to close the college from July this year. Low Beckside is a traditional Cumbrian hill Farm, located at the foot of Blencathra in the village of Mungrisdale.
In the meeting Neil and Victoria discussed the crucial need for land-based education in Cumbria and the importance of people coming together to support the project. In the meeting Neil thanked the Ernest Cook Trust for securing Low Beckside and their commitment to maintaining it as an educational learning site and for the work they already undertake supporting young people.
Neil, who is also a member of the Commons EFRA Select Committee has led a campaign to save Newton Rigg College and land-based education in Cumbria since February 2020, when current owners, Askham Bryan College announce the closure of the site.
Neil stated “I am delighted that Low Beckside has been secured by The Ernest Cook Trust and I look forward to working with them on this exciting project. I am encouraging the Trust to work with local stakeholders working to secure a new future for Newton Rigg. This development is another lifeline in saving Land-based Education in Eden and Cumbria, but it must be stressed, this is not the end, it is only the beginning. We still have a long way to go to regain what has been lost because of the closure by Askham Bryan of Newton Rigg. As a member of the EFRA Committee, I was disappointed in the response we received from the Education Secretary regarding the closure of Newton Rigg, and there are still answers that we urgently need and we continue to call for clarification from Government and for a national support strategy for land-based education. I will continue to fight for our rural sector and for a future for land-based education in Cumbria.”
Victoria said after the meeting “It was great to meet with the local MP Neil Hudson; we are both very excited about how the community can help us to develop a strong and comprehensive vision from Low Beckside. I believe in collective action and the best way of looking after the future of Low Beckside is for everyone to pull together.”