Government minister opens £1.6m Dukeries centre

TOP Government minister Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, official opened the £1.6m Dukeries Construction Centre on Friday.

The MP toured the site and unveiled a plaque marking his visit and the official launch of the unique, purpose-built Construction Centre, which has been jointly funded by the SSP Alliance, the Learning and Skills Council and the College.

Peter Rowley, construction centre manager told Chad: "The centre was designed by Jackson Design Associates to complement the energy conscious ethos of the Sherwood Energy Village.

"The centre has been built using low carbon technologies and is environmentally friendly with a low carbon footprint, including solar water heating, grey water recycling and the installation of a wind turbine to support the lighting.

"It was built using sustainable sources, which makes it a unique purpose-built environment for the delivery of training in traditional crafts right on the doorstep of our local community."

The centre, next door to the College Farm and Riding Centre, is also home to a traditionally crafted oak shelter, funded by Building Better Communities, which the community is building from locally sourced oak from the Thorsby Estate.

Peter added: "It is wonderful to see the community coming together to build the shelter, we welcome anyone who would like to come along and get involved."

Ed Balls was welcomed by a party of local dignitaries including the principal, Danny Smith, Coun Stella Smedley, chairman of governors and the Sherwood MP Paddy Tipping.

Danny told Chad: "The visit from Ed Balls really puts the Dukeries College on the map in terms of the delivery of traditional heritage crafts.

"We hope that the centre encourages young people and adults to come along and gain skills that they may not have the opportunity to learn anywhere else locally."