Organisations from across Cumbria came together this week in a virtual meeting to discuss the future of the Newton Rigg Campus in Penrith.
The meeting was organised and chaired by Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border after Askham Bryan College asked the Further Education Commissioner to undertake a formal Local Provision Needs Analysis for the Newton Rigg Campus.
The Newton Rigg Campus is a nationally known Specialist Land Based College, as well as the Further Education College of the Eden Valley. The College has been providing education and supporting the community, specifically the Cumbrian farming community for over 124 years. Cumbria as a county is the second largest producer of red meat, and also the second largest milk field in the UK.
The meeting which brought together key stake holders discussed the holistic importance of Newton Rigg, its place educating future generations of key workers in the agriculture industry and environmental sector, and its wider curriculum and the integral part it plays within the community.
Neil Hudson stated to the group; “In securing a positive, viable future for Newton Rigg, it is vital that we all come together to support this iconic campus and institution. Now more than ever, in this current Covid-19 crisis we need to have a sharp focus to look after and support the rural economy that provides sustenance for us. The long-term resilience of domestic food security and the agricultural supply chain must be protected, in addition to training people in key areas like health and social care. Newton Rigg has a vital role in helping this to continue.”
Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise partnership commented after the meeting; “Retaining a land-based college in Cumbria is essential as we are the most rural county in England. That’s why Cumbria LEP (CLEP) very much welcomed Dr Neil Hudson, MP’s meeting today, which brought together a wide range of stakeholders to explore with the FE Commissioner how we can work together to create a long-term sustainable future for Newton Rigg. At this meeting CLEP agreed to work collaboratively to develop a proposal to achieve this and present this to the FE Commissioner to inform their recommendations to the Askham Bryan Corporation.”
Neil concluded following the meeting; “I will continue to work closely with the stake holders to support the campus as well as communicating their concerns to my colleagues in Government. I would like to thank all those who came to our virtual meeting. It is fundamental that the FE Commissioner hears loud and clear how important Newton Rigg is to our community, the rural economy and the wider UK. Penrith needs Newton Rigg. Cumbria need Newton Rigg. The UK needs Newton Rigg.”