Major gamekeeping college to close

One of the UK’s premier gamekeeping colleges is to shut. Newton Rigg in Cumbria is the only college with its own grousemoor.

Askham Bryan College has announced a proposal to close its Newton Rigg Campus at the end of the next academic year in summer 2021.

The Newton Rigg Gamekeeping Department released a statement saying it understands what concern the news will generate among new applicants, progressing students and supporters. “The college will be writing to you to explain the situation,” it says. “If you need to discuss your place with us please contact your course manger or via the college contact details found on NewtonRigg.ac.uk – for current students, the safeguarding number is still operational if you need to speak to someone. Don’t forget the Gamekeepers Welfare Trust is also there to talk to for independent support and advice.”

The closure of the facility near Penrith will see 117 job losses and be a ‘hammer blow’ for the region, says the University and College Union. It vows to fight the closure.

Local MP Neil Hudson says: “This is hugely disappointing news for the students and staff of Newton Rigg. I have been and continue to work hard to secure a future for this valuable and important college. I have held meetings with stakeholders, ministers, the FE Commissioner’s Office and Askham Bryan. One small glimmer of light for us is that Askham Bryan have listened to my call for them to delay the implementation of their decision for as long as possible, and the fact that Newton Rigg will be open for business as normal this coming academic year gives us the window to implement a rescue plan. I will continue do my utmost to secure a viable future for Newton Rigg. It is so important to our rural economy, both in Cumbria and the wider UK.”

Here’s our film about grouseshooting at Newton Rigg:

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