Echo campaign saves learning centre

By Sarah Lagan

The South Wales Echo has won its campaign to save a popular city learning centre at the heart of Cardiff city from closure after just one week.

Cardiff Council threatened to close the Friary, which is used by nearly 2,000 young musicians and 700 adult learners, and scatter its services across schools and community centres across the city in order to save up to £190,000.

But council bosses backed down following the Echo’s Save Our Friary campaign which included a petition signed by thousands of locals, hundreds of letters to the council and a meeting with councillors for the public to voice their opposition.

The centre is home to the Cardiff County and Vale of Glamorgan Music Service, adult learning services and disability advisory service Dart. Echo Editor Richard Williams said: “This was a campaign we simply had to win. Over the years, thousands of learners and musicians have been through the Friary and not only learned new skills but made lasting friendships. “It simply did not make sense to close such a fantastic facility which would have meant young musicians and adult learners being sent to all four corners of the city.

“It was a victory for people power and common sense and another example of the sort of campaign the Echo prides itself upon.” The campaign was coordinated by assistant to the editor Nick Machin, news editor Cathy Owen, schools correspondent Moira Sharkey, and reporters David James and Gerry Holt.

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