HARWICH Mayflower Project’s train- ing centre is set to close “temporarily” due to a lack of funding.

Bosses at the project, which is based in George Street, said staff at the training centre had been asked whether they want to accept voluntary redundancy.

Graham Richardson, general manager, said the move would have no impact on the plans to build a full-size ocean-going replica of the English merchant ship that took the Pilgrim Fathers to America in 1620.

“We are going through a short-term closure of the training centre to seek further funding for the training programme,” said Mr Richardson.

“There are not enough funds coming forward. We are seeking further funding.

“This is a temporary closure until we can seek and sustain funding.

“There are no redundancies at all. The staff have been given the option of voluntary redundancy. They are in the process of selecting what they want to do.”

He stressed: “It won’t have any effect whatsoever on the building of the Mayflower.”

Mr Richardson said the move was a temporary measure, but there was no date for when the centre would be reopened.

He added the project would be working with its training partners to seek funding, but would not be drawn on the level of funding required.

It is understood the move could affect five members of staff at the training centre, which offered a range of courses aimed at making Harwich a “thriving maritime hub”.

The project worked with Year 12 students at Harwich and Dovercourt High School on their vocational excellence and enterprise project, and with Year Nine pupils on creative craft and digital media sessions.

It also ran NVQ courses, as well as the Get Involved project with jobseek- ers referred by JobCentre Plus.

The current courses will be com- pleted on May 20, following which nothing further has been planned.

Harwich mayor Dave McLeod said: “I’m flabbergasted, it is very sad news for Harwich and I hope the centre will reopen as soon as possible.

“It is a very important project for our town and was doing good things by giving skills to young people and the unemployed.

“It will be very sad if those people lose their jobs – I just hope new funding can be found as soon as possible.”