Charity’s fears if Armley St Bart’s Leeds City College centre axed

Dawn Newsome and her team at Armley Helping Hands

Dawn Newsome and her team at Armley Helping Hands

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A CHARITY which helps elderly people in Armley area could be under threat if Leeds City College closes three of its learning centres.

Leeds City College centres St Bartholomew’s in Armley; Winthorpe Street, Meanwood, and Joseph Priestley at Morley could be axed as the college seeks to make savings of more than £10m.

St Bartholomew’s on Strawberry Lane is also a community centre and is a base for Armley Helping Hands, which helps more than 200 elderly people a week and has seven paid staff and 22 volunteers.

Leeds City Council service Fulfilling Lives, which caters for adults with learning difficulties, is also based at St Bartholomew’s.

Dawn Newsome, chief executive officer of Armley Helping Hands, said: “The closure of St Bartholomew’s centre could have major consequences on the future of all tenants and community groups based at the Strawberry lane community centre as the college hosts 50 per cent of the building. We have already taken a 10 per cent reduction in the charity core funding resource in 2015/16 and the prospect of having to look at alternative accommodation would have a major impact on our service delivery and the ability to offer our older people a local service.”

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “We’ll continue to work with the college and all relevant parties to assess the options. As we part-fund Armley Helping Hands, we’re working with them to support them throughout this process.”

Leeds City College said some courses could still be offered locally if the three centres close. College principal Peter Roberts, said: “The current financial picture necessitates a radical rethink of how the college organises its education and training for key stakeholders. There will be an impact on what we teach and where and how we deliver it - however, there will be no compromise on quality.”

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