Pottery class at Preston College faces being scrapped

Posted on - 7th June, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Campaigns, Education, Fulwood, Preston News, Sharoe Green
Preston College
Preston College says it cannot justify the expense of continuing the Pottery course

A city college is facing criticism over proposals to withdraw a much-loved pottery course.

Campaigners are calling for bosses at Preston College to reconsider their plan to scrap the non-vocational pottery classes.

More than 400 people have signed a petition on set up by Graham Hough from the Northern Potters Association.

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Graham told Blog Preston: “These signatories are all potters, collectors and supporters who value pottery in all its forms as a valuable therapeutic and cerebral experience. It is so important to maintain the joy of clay both from its ability to express peoples images and because of its proven therapeutic value for physical and mental health.

“During the recently held ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ it is tragic to deny folk access to arts and crafts, like pottery, which provides an outlet for our emotional problems we all suffer today.

“The tactile qualities of clay make building with it so satisfying and to see something we have made with our own hands is wonderfully rewarding.

“Preston Collage have excellent facilities and a inspiring and expert tutor and instead of closing the classes they should be increased in number to provide an essential service in this increasingly stressful world.”

One of the creations in the pottery class Pic: Sally Edmundson-Bird

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One of those signing the petition is Tara Brady.

She said: “The college appears to have arbitarily chosen to cancel this course with no consultation with its participants and no real explanation.

“It provides so much more than tuition about clay. People on the course range from 25 to 90 years old.

“I personally have found that my mental health has improved immensely just by working with clay in a group environment.”

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Another attendee of the course Sally Edmundson-Bird said: “Preston has a great track record in creating potters. The first ever winner of the Great Pottery Throwdown was a Prestonian and one of last year’s finalists was also from Preston.”

A spokesperson for Preston College said: “The College has continued to offer Pottery groups for a number of years, during which time most other similar provision elsewhere has ceased due to the relatively high cost and poor funding opportunities.

“However, the kiln that is used for this provision is now reaching the end of its life, in addition to which the space currently occupied as a Pottery room will soon be needed for other curriculum purposes.

“Replacing the kiln will cost close to Ā£40k even if alternative accommodation was available. The College has finite resources and space, and sadly at this time cannot justify the additional expense for the small numbers that attend for this purpose each year.

“However, the College Principal is going to meet with all current groups after half term to discuss the proposed closure in more detail. There is little more to be said until these discussions have taken place.”

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