THE official opening of NR Training’s School of Horticulture took place at Lowther Castle & Gardens, where new courses in horticulture and garden design will be delivered - starting this month.

A crowd gathered to celebrate the opening which was officiated by David Beeby, The High Sheriff of Cumbria, whose partner has recently enrolled on one of NR Training’s new horticulture courses at Lowther.

In his address, the High Sheriff celebrated that “We are starting to see the Phoenix rise from the ashes of Newton Rigg College. Newton Rigg College was first established in 1896. Today we are seeing a new entity emerging with a bright new future.”

The High Sheriff thanked the directors of Newton Rigg Ltd for their huge efforts in creating the new future, as well as Andrew Counsell and Dr Jane Sullivan, the “driving forces behind NR Training”. He also thanked the NR Training School of Horticulture team - Shelagh Todd (Head of Horticulture) and tutors Louise Stoddart, Lyn Brunette and Jay Barker for their work in establishing the new range of courses in Horticulture and Garden Design.

NR Training was launched to rebuild land-based education in Cumbria, with their first part-time courses in horticulture, garden design, advanced dairy management and sheep management running from September this year. As Cumbria’s new land-based training provider, NR Training have fast-moving plans to expand their scope of courses and deliver a wide range of courses and land-based apprenticeships.

The team behind the NR Training School of Horticulture are familiar faces in Cumbria and have an established record of delivering high quality courses leading to employment in the horticultural industry. With over 100 years of experience between them, the team, led by Shelagh Todd, formery Head of Horticulture, Forestry and Floristry at Newton Rigg Campus, are ready to utilise the extensive gardens at Lowther to teach their students up to date skills in practical horticulture and garden design.

NR Training is a trading name of Newton Rigg Ltd, a local, independent organisation formed to protect the future of specialist land-based education in Cumbria for the benefit of generations to come. Led by Andrew Counsell, a director of NR Ltd and former principal of Duchy College, and Dr Jane Sullivan, former Director of Newton Rigg Campus and education consultant, NR Training is the first step of Newton Rigg Ltd’s plan to bring back a dedicated land-based college to the county and eventually open a new, independent Newton Rigg College.

Newton Rigg Ltd says Cumbria’s local and business community has really come together to support the launch of NR Training and rebuild land-based education in the county following the closure of Newton Rigg College. The organisation has received support from numerous donors and major employers including Farmers First, Westmorland Ltd and the Carr’s Group.

Newton Rigg Ltd Director Chris Crewdson said, “With the launch of NR Training we are on the path to a sustainable solution for Cumbria and we are so grateful to the individuals and organisations who have supported us financially and with their advice and expertise. This is a community effort and we believe our county will look back with pride in future. We hope that any others who want to be part of this drive to rebuild land-based education in Cumbria will get in touch to offer their support or donate via our GoFundMe crowdfunding page.”