Closed centre ‘vital’

I AM WRITING to you because I understand you have been contacted by some of the students at the Learn Direct centre in the High Street that is suddenly closing.

I was horrified to hear this facility is closing, because it is so well-used by local residents who want to improve their life skills and to gain qualifications that will help them into (better) employment.

As you are aware, the Trees Estate, as well as other parts of Bognor Regis, are pockets of deprivation where one of the factors is the lack of skills and therefore unemployment.

This makes the centre even more vital for local residents because, without it, they are destined not to succeed, not to get out of the poverty trap, but to continue earning low pay and/or receive benefits.

I am also very worried some of the current students at the centre are half-way through important, life-changing courses – what are they supposed to do?

Most, if not all of them would have grave difficulties in getting to Worthing or wherever else these courses may run.

Are they just supposed to write off their aspirations to a better way of life?

It really is not a fair situation at all.

The councillors who have Bognor’s destiny in their hands keep harping on about creating new jobs in the town, but unless local people are given the opportunity to improve their skills, they won’t be the ones who get employed should the work arrive – the jobs will go to better-qualified people from outside the area, thus adding to the congestion on our already overcrowded roads.

The government say they want a better-qualified workforce in Britain, so why is this invaluable resource being taken from those who need it the most?

I also don’t know how many from this estate are directly affected, but even if it’s just one then it’s one too many!

Gez Watson

Chairman,

Trees Estate Residents’ Association