County college to launch farm shop as student numbers soar

From left, Lynsey Wilson, Elaine Joseland, Dan Poulter, Trudi Rose Porter and Alan Pease at Suffolk Rural

From left, Lynsey Wilson, Elaine Joseland, Dan Poulter, Trudi Rose Porter and Alan Pease at Suffolk Rural - Credit: Suffolk Rural

A Suffolk college is set to launch its own farm shop venture selling produce grown on site.

Suffolk Rural - the land-based Otley campus of Suffolk New College - announced the plan during a visit by local MP Dan Poulter.

Dr Poulter - who toured the campus and chatted to students before sitting down with senior figures from the college - praised the progress made since Otley merged with Ipswich-based Suffolk New College two and a half years ago.

"During the visit, I was pleased to discover that since Suffolk New College and Suffolk Rural had joined forces, significant investment has taken place at the campus based in Otley, student numbers have almost tripled and the college has a number of exciting commercial plans in the pipeline that will help support the local rural economy,” he said.

From left, Elaine Joseland, Trudi Rose-Porter, Dr Dan Poulter, Alan Pease and Lynsey Wilson

From left, Elaine Joseland from Dan Poulter’s office, Trudi Rose-Porter, director of health, enterprise and sport, Dr Dan Poulter, deputy principal Alan Pease and director of land-based studies Lynsey Wilson - Credit: Suffolk Rural

He met a group of inclusive learners and discovered more about an enterprise project that they were working on.

Among them was horticulture student Wayne Cool, who explained how the college had helped him with his mental health issues.

MP Dan Poulter talking to Suffolk Rural student Wayne Cool

MP Dan Poulter talking to Suffolk Rural student Wayne Cool - Credit: Suffolk Rural

The MP visited the arboriculture unit where student  Ben Robinson described the college as "a very special place".

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“It was great to find out how the college has been developing their offer to support local people of all ages and help them to learn new skills and to enable them to develop their careers,"  he said.

Trudi Rose Porter, director of health, enterprise, sport and inclusive learning at the college, said as well as launching a farm shop, students will grow vegetables, plans and other product to sell there.

"We have a number of other exciting announcements that we will be sharing with everyone over the coming months and we can’t wait for people to hear about them,” she said.

She added:  “We are grateful to Dr Poulter for visiting us. It was great that we were able to share with him our vision for the future and thank him, the local community, our students, staff and stakeholders for their ongoing support."