COMMUNITIES reacted with anger to news that Sheffield College is shutting five education centres due to funding cutbacks.
The college is axing community classes at Darnall Education Centre, Tinsley Community Centre, Prince Edwards Primary on the Manor, Vestry Hall in Burngreave and Tapton School.
College bosses say they have no choice, faced with reduced government grants and tough new rules about who is eligible for subsidised training.
Dozens of students and community activists staged a protest at Sheffield College’s Granville Road campus.
Sylvia Hamilton, chair of Darnall Forum, said: “This will have a huge impact on students. It will affect their quality of life and their opportunities within the job market.
“Darnall is one of the poorest areas of Sheffield and people cannot afford the extra travel costs to get to one of the other centres.”
Jack Oughton, aged 19, from Darnall, is studying for a mechanics qualification. He said: “This is the best course I’ve done. Other people won’t get the opportunity if it closes.”
Eritrean mum-of-one Tiblets Asgedome, 44, from Shiregreen, said: “When I came to Sheffield two years ago I couldn’t speak English. The Darnall centre helped me communicate and integrate.”
Labour Darnall Coun Mary Lea said Sheffield College had always done ‘excellent work’ in her community, but blamed the move on the coalition Government spending cuts.
Heather MacDonald, chief executive of the college, said: “We are facing substantial funding cuts. Pulling back from community-based provision has been a difficult decision.