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Thursday 29 October 2009


Students at South Cheshire College are over the moon after receiving cash grants from a Learner Support Fund to help them with their studies.

Up to 50 students have benefited from the Mayor’s Learning Fund which was set up by former college student Brian Silvester, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council and the former Mayor of Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council.

Councillor Silvester donated £5,000 from his Mayor’s Learning Fund to the high-flying college in the summer to help students meet the financial costs of further education.

South Cheshire College Principal Peter Swift then matched that figure to swell the pot to £10,000 and students have snapped up grants of up to £200 to help them on a whole range of college courses.

The fund has now been used up and many students are delighted with their cash bonuses which have helped them to pay for course fees, transport costs or materials for their programmes of study.

During his year as Mayor in 2008/9 of the former Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, Councillor Silvester chose Lifelong Learning as his theme and was delighted to hand over the cash to help current students.

Students needed to be resident within the boundaries of the former Crewe and Nantwich Borough and be undertaking a course during the 2009/2010 academic year, which leads to a formal qualification or the awarding of a certificate, to qualify for the grants.

Mature student Dave Graham was thrilled to benefit from the Fund which has allowed him to stay on at college for another year and edge him a step closer to part time work in the restaurant business.

Dave, 59, of Aston near Nantwich, said: “I’ve already studied Pro Chef courses at NVQ Levels 2 and 3 but the Learner Support Fund has helped me to stay on at college and develop my skills on a Level 3 Patisserie and Confectionary course.

“The cost of this latest course was around £750 so a grant of £200 has taken a massive chunk off the fee for me and I’m very grateful.

“I love the College and studying this new course is helping me to prepare and serve deserts and builds on what I’ve learnt so far.”

Mother-of-two Laura Healy is studying a Book-keeping and Accounts City & Guilds course at college.

Laura, 49, of Crewe, said: “I found out about the Fund and realised I was eligible for it. I have two children to look after so this has been a big help.”

Anna Baranowska, an NVQ Level 2 hairdressing student, has also benefited from a £200 cash grant.

Anna, 29, of Crewe, said: “I’m very happy with the cash grant because I wanted to come to college to improve my skills.

“I think it’s excellent that students have been helped in this way and I’m sure it has encouraged many people like myself to sign up for courses. The college is very friendly and I’m enjoying my time here.”

Councillor Silvester said: “Lifelong Learning is a cause close to my heart.
Cost can sometimes stand in the way but hopefully these grants have helped local people to realise their ambitions and fulfill their learning potential.

"I would like to thank all those who worked so hard to raise funds for this very worthwhile cause."

Peter Swift said: "We were very grateful to receive cash from the Mayor’s Learning Fund and were pleased to be able to add to it.

“The money has now been fully utilised by students from different backgrounds and from a number of courses across the college.

“Cash incentives like this, which encourage students to come to college to further their education, can only be extremely positive for the college and local community and we are very pleased that our students have benefited from the grants.”

The fund has also helped to establish a Scholarship scheme for people wishing to study for a degree at Manchester Metropolitan University's Crewe campus.

Councillor Silvester added: ""As a former mature student who completed several courses at the College, I was delighted to able to give something back to today's students of all ages.

"We are very fortunate to have one of the best Colleges in the country in Crewe. The staff and governors who have been responsible for this long term success deserve to be congratulated.”

For further information about courses at South Cheshire College please call 01270 654654 or visit

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