We, the undersigned, are concerned by the news that Ushaw College, including the seminary of St Cuthbert, is to close in June 2011, and that the ancillary activities, including the successful conference and tourism businesses, are to close at the earlier date of 31st December 2010. In expressing this concern, we are mindful that the extensive buildings, including the architecturally meritorious chapel dedicated to St Cuthbert, were paid for by earlier generations of Catholics, who, no doubt, expected their generosity to extend to future generations in perpetuity. We are also mindful of the immense contribution that Ushaw College has made in the past 200 years to the cultural, educational and religious history of the north of England, particularly as the alma mater of many thousands of Catholic priests.
In particular, we are concerned by the following:-
1. The absence of any consultation or discussion prior to the decision being made,
2. The prospect of St Cuthbert’s Chapel no longer being available for Catholic worship,
3. The apparent lack of consideration given to ways of securing a future for the college,
4. The loss of more than 60 jobs in an area where alternative employment is scarce.
In the light of these considerations, we urge that the trustees of Ushaw College forestall its closure until such time as:-
1. a proper study has been made of options that would enable it to continue to serve the Catholic population of northern England,
2. there has been the opportunity for the closure to be debated publicly.
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