A Morley Milestone at North Kensington
Representatives from all three centres of Morley College London, the Save Wornington Road campaign and local and national government organisations came together on Tuesday 3rd March 2020 to mark the latest milestone in Morley’s merger journey with the former Kensington & Chelsea College to become one of the largest providers of lifelong learning in the capital.
Principal Andrew Gower gave a speech to introduce the indicative plans
The event, held in Morley’s North Kensington Centre and featuring artwork and performances from students, gave attendees and stakeholders the opportunity to view for the first time the new indicative plans for the renovation of the North Kensington Centre on Wornington Road. The plans include a community garden, a four-storey extension to create a new community hall and performance space, and external works to the main entrance to improve visibility. ‘It’s brilliant to bring together representatives from the local community as well as national, London and local representatives of further education in order to support and mark this merger event,’ said Andrew Gower, principal of Morley College London. ‘It is a significant point on our journey towards fantastic community focused education here in North Kensington.’
Students from The Rhythm Studio performed for attendees
‘We’re all here this evening to celebrate the future of this college which is such a vital and integral part of everything that North Kensington is,’ said Ed Daffarn of the Save Wornington College Campaign and Grenfell United. ‘In this area you are never more than one person away from someone who has directly benefited from an experience at this college. There’s been education here for 146 years, and the idea that it can continue for another 125 years is absolutely fantastic.’
History and legacies proved a common theme for many at the event. Speaking to attendees, Stuart Edwards, Chair of Governors at Morley College London said, ‘we’re securing the provision of community education on this site, which dates back to March 1874. It’s equally an important milestone in the history of Morley College which has been championing lifelong learning in London since 1889.’ He went on to highlight the importance of looking to the future, ‘this is the milestone at the beginning of the next stage of the journey, a journey not just about renovating this building, but about breathing of new life into it as a centre of community education.
FE Commissioner Richard Atkins said, ‘It’s been a very long journey over the last two years and three months, and I’m absolutely delighted to be here. I’m very optimistic about the future of adult education and education in North Kensington.’
Student Governor Irene Lax was impressed by the plans: ‘I’m very excited about this unique opportunity. We’re in a really vibrant, artisan community here, and we can now reflect that. I don’t think there’s any other college like this in London- it really is very special.’
The merger is supported by £32 million of investment from the Department for Education, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Greater London Authority. As part of the merger the North Kensington Centre, which serves the local community affected by the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, will undergo major refurbishment and be protected as a community hub for education and skills. As a merged college, Morley will provide a sustainable and affordable programme of lifelong learning across three centres – North Kensington, Chelsea and Waterloo – serving more than 17,000 students drawn from all boroughs of London and beyond.