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Work on new Community Learning Hub for Seaforth underway

People in hard hats and PPE touring the Cambridge Road refurbishment site
People in hard hats and PPE touring the Cambridge Road refurbishment site

Work on an important new £1.3 million Community Learning Hub in Seaforth is underway.

Funded by Sefton Council and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority through the Skills Capital Fund, the refurbished community learning hub will provide enhanced access to skills training for residents who are currently unemployed.

Investment in the Grade II Listed building will include a complete refurbishment of the ground floor facilities, a new reception area and café. The work will also include repairing and enhancing the building’s original features, with external improvements to the roof, windows, brick and stonework.

Learning Hub users will also benefit from investment in new IT infrastructure, the school hall will be reconfigured as a new, flexible teaching area and the building will be fully Wi-Fi enabled.

Following a competitive tendering exercise, Liverpool-based contractor Cunard Construction has been appointed to carry out the work. The company has extensive experience in the refurbishment of important listed buildings, while also providing social value to the users of the centre and the immediate community.

Cllr Ian Maher, Sefton Council Leader said: “Sefton Community Learning Hub provides a fantastic community resource for adult learners to access skills and bridge the gap to employment.

“These refurbishment works will breathe new life into Cambridge Road, securing its future for the long term and helping us to attract more learners in an inviting, stimulating and connected environment.

“This will be particularly important in the light of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact, which will see more local residents relying on community learning services.

“As well as improving learning opportunities at the Cambridge Road centre, the refurbishment will also reduce its day-to-day running costs and create the potential to generate income.”

Until the redevelopment is complete services will continue to be provided by the Council’s Community Learning Service at alternative nearby venues.

People in hard hats and PPE looking at the Cambridge Road site
Guests in Hard hats and PPE looking at the Cambridge Road site

Cllr Maher added: “This investment unlocks the potential of Cambridge Road and safeguards the future of an iconic building. Sefton Community Learning Hub is a well-used asset but can play an even greater role in the community.

“This is an important milestone in enabling more learners and service users to access Cambridge Road.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Even as we deal with the immediate impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to invest and plan for our future so that our economic recovery begins as quickly as possible.  Education and training will be at the heart of our recovery as we ensure that the people of the Liverpool City Region have the skills and learning they need to thrive.  By investing in infrastructure schemes such as this Learning Hub in Cambridge Road we are investing in the future of our city region.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: “The Sefton Community Learning Hub already provides stellar education and training services.

“The refurbishment of the Hub, backed by a £1.15m Local Growth Fund investment, will safeguard this important service, as well as improving the facilities for staff and learners alike.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that we equip people with the skills they need to succeed.”

James Flannery, Construction Director at Cunard Construction, said: “We are delighted to be chosen as the preferred bidder for the Cambridge Road Project. We as a business have a track record of refurbishing historic, listed and locally important buildings across the Liverpool City Region and the North West.

“We will work in partnership with Sefton MBC, and the immediate community, to create a stimulating Community Learning Hub in Seaforth.

“It’s imperative we work with clients to maximise the best possible social value as part of the construction process. Sefton and the Combined Authority have a track record of including Quality elements of the tender process which demands that construction contractors deliver a range of benefits for the community were projects are delivered.

“We will work the Council to deliver a full suite of Social Value elements for the project aimed at creating opportunities for the residents of Sefton, whilst supporting the Hubs social enterprise business who do fantastic work in Sefton.”

The Community Learning Hub in Seaforth is being funded by the Skills Capital Fund element of Local Growth Funding, which is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.