Article and Photo from: LEP Friday, 11th December 2020

Students and apprentices at Lancaster and Morecambe College are the amongst the latest local beneficiaries of the Banks Lyons Memorial Trust (BLMT), who have awarded the college a generous grant to support learners who are unable to access remote learning opportunities.

Engagement Manager at Lancaster and Morecambe College, Victoria Carter, said “One of the immediate impacts of the Covid-19 lockdown in March was the sudden shift to on-line teaching & learning and this created issues for some of our students who were unable to access the resources from home.

“We were able to supply laptops to most of our learners, but it highlighted the digital disadvantage faced by many people in our district. The grant from BLMT will allow us to purchase laptops and access to Wi-Fi for our most vulnerable learners.”

Current Chair of the Trustees, Fiona Gordon, said: “The trustees recognised that Covid-19 has brought extra difficulties for some young people in our area. With this grant to Lancaster and Morecambe College, they were glad to be able to help alleviate some of the consequent hardship and to provide access to IT where it was most needed.”

Additional funding has also been made available to support local apprentices who have been made redundant, or are at risk of losing their placements, due to the on-going pandemic.

Charlotte Rawes, LMC’s Director of Apprenticeships and Employer Engagement knows how important this funding will be for some.

She said: “We are delighted that the trustees saw fit to award grants to support young people within the Lancaster and Morecambe district. We have seen a significant number of our apprentices struggle during the last nine months, with 70% of them furloughed at the height of the first lockdown.

“This money will allow us to set up a hardship fund to help support those apprentices who have lost their jobs, whilst we work with local employers to try to secure new placements for them.”

The Banks Lyon Memorial Trust arose from a generous gift made by Lancaster man, Dr Walter Lyon, who wanted to help young people from across the district access relevant education and training.

The grants BLMT award help to remove potential barriers to learning, ensuring young people are given the opportunity to thrive and gain key employability skills.

Many local people may be familiar with the name Banks Lyon, as their stores have been a fixture on Church Street for generations, but the charity is not formally connected to the Lancaster-based businesses.

It is managed by a board of Trustees, who make grants to individuals and organisations within Lancaster, Morecambe, Carnforth and surrounding rural areas.