Exciting plans in store for centre

A Rolle Centre director says the former campus’s transformation into a community and education hub is needed more than ever, now that the Elizabeth Hall site is set to be re-developed.

Retired Barclays Bank employee Mike Tracey is one of nine directors of Rolle Exmouth Limited, a not-for-profit social enterprise company.

REL has been founded by members of the community with a mission to transform the former Rolle College into an education, community and business hub.

The share issue for the site is now entering its second week; and if enough shares are bought by the public to re-commission the buildings, he says he has no doubt that the project will succeed.

He said: “One of my earliest memories of living in Exmouth is of going to a talk in the lecture theatre at Rolle.

“I thought then that it was a superb facility… I was also impressed that the college made such an enormous contribution to the town, not just in terms of the �5million that it put into the local economy every year, but with its injection of youthful enthusiasm and joie de vivre.”

He admits that when the college was closed by Plymouth University that little less than a miracle was required.

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“I have nothing but admiration and respect for the hard work and vision of the people behind Rolle Exmouth Limited, who have worked so hard to try to achieve it.

“When I was recently offered the opportunity to join them, I could not refuse.

“We are now so close to seeing the miracle realised. The Owen building will once again house hundreds of young people eager to learn the skills that will find them good jobs, quite possibly jobs with the small businesses which will have the opportunity to develop in offices and work-shops on the rest of the campus.”

He said students and businesses would be able to stay in Exmouth: “There will also be a wide variety of community facilities, ranging from a large, well-equipped gym to a pottery kiln and meeting rooms. These are now all the more important to the social life of the town, given the recent confirmation of the impending demise of Elizabeth Hall.

“This is my vision for Rolle, but it is now more than that. If the share issue succeeds, I believe that it will become reality, and that it will give the town an enormous boost. I find that tremendously exciting.”