New education centre to open in Norwich

West Earlham Community Centre, Wilberforce Road will be turned into a new education centre.

West Earlham Community Centre, Wilberforce Road will be turned into a new education centre. - Credit: Antony Kelly

Thousands of disadvantaged students in Norwich could be given a better chance of making it to university after plans for a new education centre were revealed.

The West Earlham Community Centre on Wilberforce Road will open as a learning venue next year, offering after-school academic support, aspiration-building workshops and a mentoring programme with current university students and professionals.

The learning centre is the result of a new partnership between the University of East Anglia (UEA) and IntoUniversity, the UK’s largest university-access charity.

 Children using IntoUniversity facilities in Lambeth Primary School.

Children using IntoUniversity facilities in Lambeth Primary School. - Credit: Caroline Cornill

More than 1,000 students from deprived backgrounds, aged seven to 18, will be able to use the service each year.

The centre's pop-up facilities also mean local people will be able to use the community centre outside of the learning centre's hours. 

Roger Ryan, Labour city councillor for the University ward, said: “I welcome this initiative in West Earlham. Giving young people the best possible start in life makes a real difference.

"I hope that this initiative will have a far reaching affect on the lives of young people locally.

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"Breaking down barriers to learning and helping them to achieve their goals in the early years is key to their development later on in life.

“It’s great to see this happening at the community centre. It also highlights the close ties we have locally with the UEA." 

Charlotte Wheatland, assistant head of outreach at UEA, said: “UEA is a great believer in social mobility and giving every student the opportunity of reaching and achieving their goals in higher education. 

"IntoUniversity’s record in providing the most disadvantaged young people in the country with this chance is as good as it gets and the centre is right on the doorstep of our campus, meaning we can continue to provide close support and resource to the project.

“So this partnership is great news for UEA because it reinforces what we stand for as an institution but also for Norwich because the many thousands of young people from the city who will use the centre in the coming years will benefit from a greater chance of achieving higher grades and expanding their career and life options.”