COMMUNITY organisation Newton Rigg Ltd (NRL) has launched an urgent action plan to rebuild land-based education in Cumbria.

NRL is calling for support after announcing the plan to rebuild the future of Newton Rigg, starting with land-based training courses this year, the introduction of apprenticeships in 2022 and leading to the opening of a new, independent, Cumbrian Newton Rigg College in 2024/25.

The plan can be outlined in four steps: stop the sale of the Newton Rigg campus; protect the assets; rebuild land-based education with training, apprenticeships and a rural business school; and welcome new learners aged 16 and above to a new, Cumbrian, independent Newton Rigg College in September 2025.

“Rebuilding land-based education will not be an easy journey in light of the current challenges facing education, but we are making it possible. Our message remains clear: Any compromise of land-based education in Cumbria is not an option. The alternative provision currently being offered to some students on some courses is too limited to sustain our communities and industries,” said Professor Andy Cobb, NRL chairman.

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The action plan is led by members of the Cumbrian community along with experts in land-based education including Andrew Counsell (former principal of Duchy College, Cornwall, vice chair of Landex) and Dr Jane Sullivan (director, Newton Rigg College 2015–2018 and educational consultant specialising in alternative and further education).

Chris Crewdson, Newton Rigg Ltd director, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the supporters whose generous donations have funded our fight to save Newton Rigg and land-based education in Cumbria so far. Our fundraising must now continue and intensify to support two key areas: Stepping up our legal support at this pivotal moment for Newton Rigg, and employing initial key staff who will launch our expert-led Newton Rigg Ltd training and apprenticeship programmes – the first step in rebuilding Newton Rigg College.

“We are in the process of launching a crowdfunding campaign, but also urge any local businesses or individuals who value Newton Rigg College’s future to get in touch via our website or email and discuss how they can support our urgent action plan by becoming a sponsor, making a donation or getting involved.”

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