Mileham mother ‘gutted’ after plumbing dreams are dashed

An unemployed mother who dreams of becoming a plumber has been told she cannot get funding for training because of her husband's benefits.

Georgina Franklin, 34, wants to complete a full-time one-year introductory course and then two years after that at the College of West Anglia (CWA), King's Lynn.

But because she is a dependant on her husband's Job Seekers' Allowance (JSA) form she has been told she cannot be funded for the course, due to start in September.

Mrs Franklin, of Mileham, near Dereham, said: 'I wanted to go to college and do something like plumbing. It is something that has always been at the back of my mind and I thought to myself, 'Let's go for it.' I have been at home with the children and I want to do something for the family to better ourselves. I don't want to be on benefits all my life.'

Her husband, Richard Franklin, 50, an ex-civil servant, has been claiming JSA for nearly two years and currently receives around �214 every fortnight for him and his wife.

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The couple have an eight-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son.

Mrs Franklin became a dependant from September last year after her son, Jak, started school.

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She has been a stay-at-home mother for eight years after the Watton company she worked for closed.

Mr Franklin said he was 'gutted' after the couple learned funding was not available.

His wife was told to provide evidence she has received JSA for the past six months and confirmation from a benefits advisor that she could complete the course while receiving benefits.

But last week she was told by the college she could not be funded.

A spokesman said: 'Under the funding rules issued by the Skills and Funding Agency (SFA), the college is not permitted to offer Mrs Franklin a full-time plumbing course without charging a fee.'

A SFA spokesman added: 'Where there is a joint claim, both individuals are eligible for fee remission. Where an individual is a dependant of a claimant, they are not automatically eligible for full fee remission but they may be eligible under other criteria.

Mr Franklin is appealing for support from local businesses to sponsor his wife to take the course.

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