Waltham Forest College is one of only two colleges to recieve 100 per cent government funding for new state-of-the-art facilities

Borough's largest college award £10 in government grant

Borough's largest college award £10 in government grant

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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter, covering Chingford, Highams Park and Woodford. Call me on 07795 476 625

A college facing serious financial problems has been thrown a lifeline after securing a government grant worth nearly £10million.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced Waltham Forest College is one of only two colleges to receive 100 per cent support under the College Capital Investment Fund Scheme (CCIF).

The money awarded to the borough's largest college, in Forest Road, Walthamstow will be used to complete the fourth and final phase of its Heart of the College development scheme.

Over the last 5 years the college, which has 10,000 students, has undergone extensive refurbishment work, costing £10 million.

The college, run by Principal Robin Jones, reported a deficit of £2million in 2013 and admitted part of phase 3 - a planned £7 million pound redevelopment - had to be scaled back after it secured just one third of the required funds.

After two unsuccessful bids last year to the SFA for the final phase of funding, the college has now been given the money to complete the works, which are deemed necessary to attract new students and bring in additional income.

Mr Jones said: "Over the last five years, we have spent money to redevelop the college and this has been completely necessary for us in terms of competing with other colleges and in guaranteeing students have the best possible experience."

The £9.8 million will be spent on building a new teaching block for arts students, refurbishing a large part of an original 1930s building and providing new access to upper floors of the main building.

Mr Jones added: "The award of this 100% grant for the fourth phase of our Heart of the College initiative is very much welcomed by the college”.

"We are extremely grateful to the officers of the SFA for this support which will provide even further improvements to the learning environment for our students."

According to BIS, the project will support the delivery of an additional 321 apprenticeships by 2017, provide 50 new business start-ups by 2017 and enable the expansion of higher education provision in fashion, art & design from 16 learners last year to 40 learners by 2016/17.

In total, 22 colleges were awarded grants by the CCIF, with Bradford College being the only other HE institution to receive 100 per cent support.

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