The Bridge, a Brighton based adult education centre and community hub, has been forced to close after 19 years.
The Bridge’s closure is the result of financial difficulties after nearly two decades at their Moulescoomb base, providing workshops and classes to help upskill benefit claimants wanting to return to work. It has helps its service users improve their writing and mathematical skills as well as providing English lessons to migrants.
The trustees of The Bridge have issued a statement about the closure which said: “It is with great regret that we have to inform you that the Bridge is to close for financial sustainability reasons.
“Several major steps have been taken over the past year and a half to make the charity resilient in an increasingly austere economic environment.
“We have revised and reduced our overhead base, invested in fundraising and commercial capacity, developed our trading subsidiary into a contributing asset and formed a range of partnerships with both public and third sector bodies which has significantly elevated our reputational standing within the sector and enhanced the quality of our work.
“Indeed, the current board of trustees turned a significant loss two years ago into a surplus the following year.
“From January this year, our Information, Advice and Guidance Service (IAG), which is a core aspect of our work, has been increasingly unsupported by grant income and has been kept in operation through our unrestricted income streams.
“This has put pressure on our cash reserves to the extent that the directors are no longer able to declare the charity a going concern.
“We are proud of the support that we have provided over the years to the local community.
“Indeed in 2017, 1,100 support sessions were delivered by our advisers and 575 people were supported through our IAG interactions.
“In partnership with further education providers, we provided over 120 courses and learning programmes and delivered over 1,800 learning hours with 800 enrolments.
“Our volunteer-delivered literacy programme addresses needs of adult literacy learners in Brighton and Hove who are not yet ready for engagement with mainstream provision.
“As such the programme bridges a significant gap and provides unique progression pathways.
“In short, we are clear that the Bridge still has an important role to play in the community by continuing to provide a high-quality, agile and genuine response to those with significant barriers to engaging in mainstream services.
“We are thankful to our partners and funders for the support that you have offered the Bridge over the years and treasure the trust you have put in our services’ ability to meet the current needs of our local communities.
“It is with great sadness that we are unable to sustain the centre’s operations.”
Find out more: http://www.thebridgebrighton.com/