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Music centre is silenced as axe falls on students

PUBLISHED: 11:48 20 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:57 25 August 2010

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ANGRY students and staff members have been left on the scrapheap after it was announced that their college will be closed down.

ANGRY students and staff members have been "left on the scrapheap" after it was announced that their college will be closed down.

The Meridian Music Centre in Woolwich Road, part of Greenwich Community College, will shut its doors to staff and students at the end of the academic year because of cuts in funding.

Music business studies lecturer Marc Bell, 52, from Shooters Hill who is one of 17 staff to be made redundant said: "I will never get another job, we've been left on the scrapheap. I literally don't know what to do.

"It will leave a huge hole in the area and there will be 200 disaffected youths in the area. It's demoralising for the staff.

"For the community it's incredibly detrimental."

The announcement was made on Monday and follows weeks of strikes and protests by college staff against cuts in education services.

The closure is the result of a consultation paper which was produced in March in response to the adult learning funding cuts the college received of £750 000 and a subsequent cut to funding of learning support of £281,700.

It also reviewed the overall effectiveness and quality of the college courses and centres.

The college is the only one of its kind in South East London offering students access to music courses which allows pupils to study without any qualifications enabling them to get into university.

James Brien Hobbs, 17, from Greenwich, a student in his first year of a B.Tech music diploma course said: "I was really hoping to do the second year of the course.

"I'm really enjoying it, it's a great climate to be in if you want to be a musician.

"Shutting this place down would be one of the biggest errors. I always wanted to be a musician. I don't' know what I'm going to do when it shuts."

Other college services due to be axed include a selection of access courses and the closure of the crèche which was reported in the Times two weeks ago.

Greenwich Community College Principal, Geoff Pine said: "We have reluctantly had to make these cuts to secure the future of the college and more importantly future training opportunities for local people.

"I would like to thank all staff and students for their constructive feedback during the consultation paper.

"As a result of their suggestions and some successful lobbying to key stakeholders we have been able to reduce the size of the cuts and make some concessions to the initial consultation paper.

"We will of course be supporting those students and staff immediately affected by the cuts."

reena.kumar@archant.co.uk

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