Learners set to go wild for new community courses

Caption: L-R Chloe O'Reilly, Alan Hewitt, Tom Cheeseman and Edward Hewitt with some of the animals at Morley Exotic Animal Rescue.

A NEW £2m programme of community courses is set to send learners in Leeds animal crackers.

Morley Exotic Animal Rescue, which cares for a huge variety of unusual creatures, is one of 30 new training providers chosen to deliver Leeds City Council’s community learning programme over the next three years.

They will be running courses at their Wakefield Road base, which is home to meerkats, snakes, spiders and racoons, after successfully applying for a share of £2,035,488 from the council.

Founder Alan Hewitt said: “We get all sorts of animals that we rescue- from tarantulas to skunks and giant snakes and these new courses will give people a chance to learn how to care for them.

“This is a real opportunity for people who want to learn how to rehabilitate exotic animals as there are so few places in the region that specialise in them like we do.

“We’re really excited about the new courses and we’ll also be welcoming learners into a brand new facility when the courses start too.”

The courses at Morley are being funded as part of the council’s community learning framework for 2014-17, using money from the Skills Funding Agency.

The programme is designed give adults aged over 19 years the chance pick up new skills that can help them into further education or jobs.

Around 8,000 learners are expected to be supported by the programme this year alone, with courses particularly aimed at people living in disadvantaged areas of the city.

Other learning providers who will be delivering courses include East Street Arts, who help develop local artists through a variety of activities held in professional studios.

Their courses include printmaking, photography, textiles, painting, drawing and collage.

Elaine Barrow, project manager with the East Street Arts community learning programme, said:

“These community learning courses allow us to give local people a place where they can pick up new skills and express themselves.

“They’re a fantastic opportunity to work with expert tutors and explore what creative courses have to offer, giving those who might not otherwise get the chance a way of connecting with the local community and communicating their thoughts and ideas in a safe and supportive environment.

“Securing this funding makes a real difference, helping us to carry on opening up creative opportunities to those living in Leeds and allowing them to find talents they might never have known they had.”

Organisations who applied to the council to be community learning providers were assessed based on their experience, resources and the demand in the area for the types of courses they would be offering.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills, said:

“We’ve chosen a really exciting and varied range of local organisations to deliver our community learning programme and we hope they’ll give people across Leeds the chance to pick up some important new skills and get involved with something they feel passionate about.

“Community learning gives thousands of people the chance to reengage with education and offers them a pathway into more formal courses as well as opening up a whole new world of job opportunities.

“So not only can those taking part learn something new, they could also start on the road to a completely new career and go on to accomplish things they never thought they could do.”

To find out more about the community learning programme, visit www.leeds.gov.uk/adultedu, contact the Community Learning Team on 0113 224 3759 or email ACLS@leeds.gov.uk


For media enquiries, please contact:

Stuart Robinson

Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937

Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk