Council leader praises award-winning adult learners at relaunch of March Community Centre

A VOLUNTEER who teaches computing in a Fenland pub was one of the success stories celebrated at the opening of March Community Centre today.

The centre in Station Road, which was previously named the March Youth and Community Centre, has been redeveloped to make it easier for people to access courses provided by the council and its partners.

Councillor Nick Clarke, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, helped present adult learners with awards for their hard work.

These included Jeff Pettit, landlord of The George in Doddington, and Vicky McDougall who joined forces to help people in the village get online.

Vicky, who had never used a computer until 18 months ago, was voted National Adult Learner of the Year and has acted as a digital champion for Doddington. She was presented with the BBC Digital Inclusion Award and the pub now acts as a learning centre.

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Other award winners included learning champions from the traveller community and family learners who have gained literacy and numeracy qualifications.

Cllr Clarke told today’s award winners that he had “nothing but admiration” for them.

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He said: “Learners being acknowledged today include people who discovered their skills and talents by coming to an adult learning class and getting bitten by the learning bug. Many are now acting as advocates for learning in their communities.

“There are examples of intergenerational learning which strengthens and supports families, learning that brings the community together and individuals out of isolation.

“There is learning that helps people gain independence, get a foot hold into employment and learning that keeps the body and mind in shape.”

Organisations set up at the centre to offer visitors the chance to try their hand at various activities, including those used on family learning courses.

Cllr Clarke said he was “extremely pleased” that the centre would bring a range of public services under one roof, acting as a “community space”.

He said: “Public services should do what they say on the tin – serve our communities. It makes no sense to residents, and I have to say me also, that we often expect our communities to travel to our services rather than put them in one place.

“That is why I am extremely pleased to see the development of this community centre which looks to bring our and other services in one place.”

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