One of London's biggest adult education colleges has enlisted the help an absolutely fabulous neighbour.
Joanna Lumley has stepped in to support Morley College London's efforts to transform its facilities in central London.
The college is hoping to raise £18 million to improve and extend its centre in Waterloo. It has already received £3 million from the Mayor of London’s Skills for Londoners Capital Fund.
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With £15 million still to be found, Ms Lumley, who lives close to one of the college's community-based centres in Stockwell, has thrown her support behind the project and stepped into the role of fundraising patron. Fingers crossed it doesn’t go the same way as Ms Lumley's most recent pet project, the ill-fated garden bridge.
The Absolutely Fabulous actress, model, author and activist said that she was very much aware of the good work that Morley College does and was delighted to be asked to support the cause.
Morley College: 'Ambitious plans'
Speaking at the launch of its fundraising appeal at the London Marriott Hotel County Hall this week, she said: “I’m very excited to hear about the ambitious improvements the college plans to make to its facilities in Waterloo. Morley has a wonderful reputation for encouraging adults to find and develop their creative talents and has played a big role in enriching the lives of people and the cultural life of London.
“This is a new phase in Morley’s very proud history and I would encourage people to get involved as we build on this by creating facilities which will maintain its place at the heart of adult education long into the future.”
Morley College educates more than 13,000 students each year and offers both full- and part-time courses in the creative arts, humanities and science. Earlier this year, it was announced that Morley College London and Kensington and Chelsea College were working towards a merger. The merger is aiming to help “secure and improve” a college campus that served the community affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster.
Promoting adult education
The improvements would focus on Morley's campus in Waterloo and include an improved reception and entrance area, transforming the study and performance facilities, upgrading the exhibition space, enlarging the library, creating a new lecture theatre, building a bridge to connect the two buildings and improving outdoor areas for the benefit of students.
This is the college’s first fundraising drive in 50 years. Andrew Gower, principal and chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have Joanna Lumley’s support for this campaign to increase still further the enormous part Morley College London has played in the cultural life of London, a city which has built a worldwide reputation for its contribution to the creative industries.
“Her kind words of support are reflective of the wider reputation of Morley, which has played a major role in the cultural life of the capital since its foundation backstage at the Old Vic theatre just down the road. The fundraising initiative will enable us to greatly enhance the student experience.”