On 22nd June WEA held a conference for Community Learning Volunteers at Birmingham University. This was a key element in our volunteer development programme.
The volunteers represented all parts of England, having travelled from Plymouth, Slough, the Midlands, Yorkshire, Manchester and Newcastle to join the event.
They also represented the diverse range of roles that volunteers perform in the community, including:
• classroom support,
• digital champions,
• community learning champions
• providing support to carers, rough sleepers and people with mental health difficulties.
Many WEA volunteers have challenging personal lives themselves but find that volunteering gives them a focus, helps to develop transferrable skills for work and enables them to give something back to the WEA – all while having quite a bit of fun!
At the end of the conference the volunteers involved presented their views to a joint meeting of the WEA Association Committee and Regional Chairs – speaking directly to the governance of the WEA to increase the influence of community learning volunteers in the strategic direction of the Association.
After the presentations Colin Barnes, the WEA President, thanked the volunteers warmly and said ‘the passion, energy and commitment demonstrated by the Community Learning Volunteers was impressive and the WEA will look seriously at the practical ideas and recommendations for developing improved training and support for volunteers