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NECA reconsiders decision to defund WEA courses

Following learner protests across the new North East Combined Authority, we are delighted to announce that NECA, under the leadership of new Mayor Kim McGuinness, has informed the WEA that they are re-instating grant funding.


Simon Parkinson, CEO and General Secretary of the WEA, said:

“We are delighted that NECA has reconsidered its decision to defund the WEA. We play a critical role in disadvantaged communities, building confidence, community connections and skills. Our provision complements that of colleges, reaching those who would not consider returning to learning in a traditional environment. 

“It was important that NECA recognised how important our style of community learning was to their portfolio. I’m glad that they have now acknowledged our designated education institution status and put us on the same grant-funded footing as colleges. 

“We are also very proud of our learners. They have shown that they can have a voice, and they can make a difference. We hope they continue to do so, fighting for what their communities need, and knowing that NECA will listen to them.” 

Joanne Hassan was one of dozens of learners who protested on the steps of the local council buildings, making the case for continued funding.

Joanne said: “I had been a stay-at-home mum, going nowhere with little confidence. I started back gently with a cooking course, but now I’ve developed skills for employment as a teaching assistant and I’m ready to work. It wouldn’t have happened without the WEA. 

“I’m really proud that NECA have listened to us learners. It shows that collectively we have a convincing voice. I’m also helping the WEA with their ‘Hey, don’t forget about learners like me’ campaign, asking election candidates what they will do to support community adult learning if elected. We’re pleased Kim McGuinness remembered us. Now we need all future MPs to do the same.” 

Here is the  open letter sent from WEA to NECA asking for the defunding decision to be reversed.


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