Skills centre opens in March

A SKILLS centre in March which was forced to close is to be reopened by a charity because of a “very real need” to help pupils outside mainstream schooling.

Psychotherapist Kevin Ward, youth worker Andrew Bradley, teacher Niki Brown, social worker Mike Coles and John Skoulding, a company director got together to reopen the centre under the name Agouti to help support looked after children and youngsters with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

The Foundry Way centre, which used to operate as part of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Education Otherwise Than at School (EOTAS) service, became available for rent in June this year due to Government cutbacks.

Mr Ward said the closure was a “big loss” to the town and that he and others from the charity were motivated to bring about its return.

“All of the original trustees and directors of Agouti had for some time been concerned at the lack of educational and skills-based training for those young people and adults who were unable to access or for whom state education was inappropriate,” he said.


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“We want this to become a big community resource and we want it to be used by the community. Rooms are available and our ICT suite can also be used by local people too.”

The new centre will boast six classrooms, a fully functional teaching kitchen and a large workshop as well as an area for agricultural use and a tarmac play area.

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In total 80 people will be offered places on Agouti courses at one time, with programmes funded by Local Authority grants and charity donations.

However the money to open the centre had to be found entirely through fundraising.

Mr Skoulding, whose father Peter was the inspiration behind the centre’s skills workshop, said: “My Father would be particularly pleased to be associated with this project as he always admired and respected people who try.

“He always said it didn’t matter if they were successful or not as long as they tried.”

Agouti will open on November 30 with a rock concert hosted by Cambridgeshire band Lost at Seven.

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