Politicians praise for Norwich youth project under threat

Questions will be asked at County Hall this morning about a decision to withdraw a funding contract for Future Education.

Politicians from every party have been full of praise for the project as the following quotes show.

Norwich South MP Simon Wright said: 'I feel very strongly about this issue. Having recently visited Future Education and seen for myself the passion that's there it is vital it remains.

'I also feel that the broader impact on the community is very substantial and this has been borne out by official reports undertaken by Norfolk County Council.

'There are young people who are being offered an academic future who are otherwise unable to study GCSEs because of the problems they have had in their lives and I feel the work they are doing needs to continue.'

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Bert Bremner, Labour Party spokesman for children's services, said: 'I am shocked at the decision to attack the kids who need Future Education. There is something seriously wrong happening at County Hall. They are making wrong decisions affecting all of us, but especially attacking the young, the elderly, and the disabled, making them suffer. That's just not fair.'

Former Norwich North MP Ian Gibson pledged his support for the project earlier this week and was full of praise for Future Radio and the project as a whole. 'It is such a good thing to have and young people can get involved and go in and talk,' he said.

'I have been there and I think it's superb. I think it is established and necessary for that part of Norwich and I would like to replicate it in the north part of the city.'

Former Norwich South MP and Home Secretary Charles Clarke said when he opened the new facilities in 2007: 'From the beginning organisers like Dawn Jackson and Paula Sanchez have been keen to engage people.

'They have been campaigning to make this happen as well as putting all the work in beforehand.

'This project is giving young people the opportunity to fulfil their potential.'

Home secretary Theresa May toured Future Projects in Motum Road, Norwich earlier this year.

Mrs May met staff, volunteers and members of the community - and even had a go on the DJ mixing decks.

She said: 'I am very impressed by the work I have seen here today. It is clear there is a lot of enthusiasm for this project and people value its contribution.

'The success of this project is testament to the dedication of many people. It is a great example of how communities can pull together to improve the quality of life on their own doorstep.'

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said in a letter to Alison Thomas last month: 'As you know the home secretary was particularly impressed by Future when she visited recently. I have also spent some time at parts of the project in my duty as constituency MP and I believe it does good work.'

Green councillor Stephen Little said last week: 'Having visited Future Education last year and been hugely impressed by

what they do, I found the threat to its funding hard to believe. Something is not right when a decision process fails to recognise the qualities of a school which, not only provides excellent education in often the most demanding of circumstances, but is able to draw on unrivalled local knowledge gained from a long history of working in the area. Everyone who is aware of the situation knows how lucky we are to benefit from such an innovative, respected and committed organisation which excels in the support it gives to its pupils, their families and the wider community.'

Richard Bearman - Green Party spokesman for children services at Norfolk County Council.

'I am very supportive of wanting Future Education to continue because they provide a unique service, but there isn't money in the pot to provide all the services.

He said the decision making process should have been done in consultation.

Marcus Hemsley, Norfolk County Council member for the Wensum ward, said : 'Wensum and Larkman is an area with a lot of challenges. Future Projects has helped to transform the lives of so many young people.

He said that they had managed to educate children who has been excluded even from pupil referral units. The has been recognised not just locally, but nationally.

'It is an amazing success story. I hope we can get this sorted out.'

Evening News Campaign mission statement

Future Education has given a proper academic schooling to some of the most challenging children in Norwich.

Just a few years ago Norfolk County Council worked with Future to set up the school and highlighted its vital role in the community.

In 2006 Future and the council secured money from the East of England Development Agency to build the school, which has been praised by Ofsted. Now the school could close after a council proposal to withdraw its academic contract. The dedicated staff at the project, pupils and the charity must be given assurance over their long-term future and be able to continue their vital work here in Norwich.

The school provides good value for money and, most importantly, results.

The Evening News is calling on Norfolk County Council to reinstate the academic contract for Future

Education so it can continue to do its unique work for our children.

To support the campaign tell us why Future Education should be saved on Twitter by using the hash tag #saveourfuture, 'like' Future Education on Facebook or write to eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk