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'A terrible decision' - opposition builds to restaurant closure as hundreds sign petition

PUBLISHED: 14:39 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:39 31 May 2019

Sammie Sparrow during a service at Ambitions training restaurant. The 24-year-old kitchen manager has launched a petition to save it Picture: Andrew Florides

Sammie Sparrow during a service at Ambitions training restaurant. The 24-year-old kitchen manager has launched a petition to save it Picture: Andrew Florides

Andrew Florides

A petition to save a training restaurant in Great Yarmouth has been signed by hundreds of people.

A service underway at Ambitions, the training restaurant at East Coast College in Great Yarmouth, which is under threat of closure. Former student Sammie Sparrow (far left) has launched a petition to save it. Picture: Andrew FloridesA service underway at Ambitions, the training restaurant at East Coast College in Great Yarmouth, which is under threat of closure. Former student Sammie Sparrow (far left) has launched a petition to save it. Picture: Andrew Florides

Plans to close Ambitions and invest in Lowestoft's East facility instead have sparked a roar of disapproval with people saying students in rural areas will suffer the most.

Former student Sammie Sparrow is among those adding her voice to protests, and launching a petition to encourage the college to look again at its decision.

Miss Sparrow, a kitchen manager at the Old Vicarage in Ludham, said there had been such a wave of opposition against the move which would impact the holiday industry and jobs.

She said: "I trained there and both my parents trained there too so it has been a family thing.

"I just thought I could not sit back and watch it end. Even if it does not amount to anything I will have tried.

"Although Yarmouth students will be doing the course work at Yarmouth the fact that they will have to travel to Lowestoft, especially in the evening, it is going to exclude more people than they realise.

"I loved my time at Yarmouth college.

"There was just something about the atmosphere that made it the place I wanted to train.

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"There's a really nice community feel there and it's such a shame Yarmouth is about to lose one of its best training facilities.

"It's a big deal.

"As a student you do not realise how hard it is going to be.

"The first time you work there on a proper lunch service you do not know what is going to hit you.

"I will never forget my first service, because it was a disaster - but the next week was an entirely different story."

People have described the closure bombshell as "heartbreaking" adding that the catering trade across Yarmouth will suffer as a result.

One person signing the petition said: "Please keep this open, (closing it is) a big mistake and the students will never forgive who takes this terrible decision."

In five days some 250 people have added their names. Miss Sparrow is aiming to collect 1,000 signatures which she will hand to college in a bid to make it change its mind.

Vicky Russ, director of curriculum development and partnerships, said catering and hospitality training would continue at both campuses but there was no longer a need to run both restaurants.

To view the petition click the link here.

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