Thursday, 28 February 2013

Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert Visits Romsey Mill



MP Julian Huppert will visit Cambridge’s Romsey Mill tomorrow (March 1) to meet some of the young people there and discover how low levels of school funding are affecting the charity.

He will visit an arts session being held as part of an Alternative Education Programme called Step-Up which supports youngsters aged 14 to 16 who are at risk of exclusion from mainstream school.

Step-Up offers a range of courses and learning experience to help the young people re-engage with education and increase their confidence, skills and aspirations.

Recognised qualifications from an Arts Award to Sports Leadership and uniformed services are embedded in the courses giving the young people on-going opportunities for success and begin to realise their potential.

The Transitions Programme also works in partnership with schools to give vulnerable children who are most at risk of struggling, a smooth transition to secondary school. Year 6 classes go through Romsey Mill’s “Ready to Go” workbook and youth workers support smaller groups in more depth, addressing issues such as self-esteem, anxiety and making positive friendships.

Although many schools and colleges testify to the value and positive impact of Romsey Mill’s programmes they say they cannot afford to pay even the bare minimum to cover the charity’s costs, leaving a sizeable balance to be raised from other community sectors such as businesses or trusts.

Julian said: “Romsey Mill is doing an excellent job helping young people who are struggling to cope with mainstream education or just lacking in self esteem.

“But the low level of education funding for Cambridgeshire is obviously having an impact on the charity as schools struggle to contribute to their costs. These children need the help Romsey Mill can give them. It is vital if they are to receive a good education and realize their potential.

“I have been fighting to get the government to increase the funding for our county’s schools. This is not just about supporting mainstream education but also being able to offer the type of specialised help that Romsey Mill is giving so everyone has a fair chance.”

Neil Perry, Romsey Mill CEO said: “Romsey Mill is committed to helping young people overcome challenges so that they can fully engage with education and have a positive involvement in their community. Funding cuts are having a direct impact on our ability to deliver much needed specialised support for young people struggling on the margins of mainstream provision”.