Regional Committees are an important part of the WEA's governance - our leadership and management processes.  Regional Committee advises on Regional policies and oversees the management and development of all aspects of the Region. 

The Committee is made up of elected voluntary members and WEA staff.  Voluntary members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions, but are united in their goal to help the Region progress and develop.  We are always interested to hear from people who would like to become involved with governance in the WEA. 

Please email southern@wea.org.uk for more information.

 

Meet the Southern Regional Committee

Anne King - Acting Chair

ANNE KING has been a student with the Wokingham and District Branch for many years and first became involved with the WEA as an organisation as a Trustee more than a decade ago.

Since then Anne has been a member of the Volunteer and Marketing Committee and has also chaired the Audit Committee. She joined the Southern Regional Committee in November 2014 and following Lindsay Pearson’s move to the role of Deputy President in March, Anne agreed to take on the role of Acting Chair until the AGM in November.

“My first impressions have really been about what a huge variety of courses there are in the WEA and how much exciting work is being carried out,” says Anne.

“I am very much signed up to the developing strategy for the Southern Region with two elements particularly dear to me - the breaking down of barriers between the community and branch programmes and finding alternative funding sources."  

Anne has been particularly impressed by the Chichester Branch Reaching Out Programme, which has seen members of the branch forge links with a local day centre to provide courses for adults with learning difficulties. “This is great,” enthuses Anne. “And I really think it’s a great example of how branches can grow and benefit the community.”

Born into a family where education was always important – her great grandmother was among the first female graduates at Trinity College in Dublin in the early 1900s – Anne believes education should be at the heart of society.

“It’s amazing if you look at all the positives that can come out of attending just one course,” she says. “Whether it’s given that person the confidence to help their child with homework or something that takes that particular student to new places, the benefit of education cannot be underestimated.”

Anne’s main objective is to familiarise all WEA students with every aspect of the organisation’s work. “I want all WEA students to be champions of education, not just members of a class.”

 

Jennifer Robinson - Regional Treasurer

Jennifer’s role as Regional Treasurer includes: reporting and advising on the deliberations of the Strategy and Finance sub-committee, the Region's financial strategy, the annual budget scrutiny of the year’s financial performance, compliance with financial procedures and good practice and the setting of fees and charges.

Jennifer says: “I was a student with the WEA at evening classes with Horley Branch before joining the Branch Committee as Treasurer.  From involvement with the Branch Committee I learnt about the wider role of the WEA in adult education and volunteered as District Treasurer for London District before the reorganisation into Regions when I became the Southern Regional Treasurer.

As Regional Treasurer I have been a member of the Regional Committee and the Strategy and Finance Committee, providing the overview and monitoring of the Region’s financial affairs on behalf of the members. I am also a member of the Regional Education Committee. 

In addition to Regional Treasurer I am Branch Secretary of Horley Branch and find both roles immensely satisfying.  As a retired person I can honestly say my life is very full with a feeling that I am doing something really worthwhile for the community where I can continue to use my expertise and abilities as an accountant. I have got great pleasure from meeting many of the fantastic students and tutors who personify the WEA's vision of “A better world - equal, democratic and just; through adult education the WEA challenges and inspires individuals, communities and society” and to know I am a part of this gives me great satisfaction.”

 

Enid Hankins - Regional Committee Member

Enid's family has been involved in education for at least three generations. Working first as a secondary teacher, followed by several years as a Youth and Community Worker in England and then for ten years as a Regional Education Manager for the WEA in South Wales. Finally, before she retired she was an HMI with Estyn and the lead inspector for Community Learning in Wales. Currently a member of the Isle of Wight Branch and Chair of the Regional Education Committee.

"WEA has an important role to play in adult community learning. The impact of adult learning in helping to create satisfying and interesting lives for individuals and communities cannot be underestimated," says Enid. 

"The WEA has the values and ethical approach that creates these kinds opportunities for communities. Helping the WEA to continue to work for local communities and local students is important to me."

 

 

Diana Wallsgrove - Regional Committee Member

Diana completed her teachers’ training in Bolton in the 1970s at a college that specialised in Technical Education.  Her first job, teaching English and General Studies to engineering apprentices was at Horwich College of Further Education.  The college had started out as a Railway Mechanics Institute and retained many of its original educational principles.  Diana loved the idea that people who had missed out on formal education or wanted to study alongside employment could do so in day or evening courses.  It was then that Diana first came across the WEA.  She continued to teach in the FE sector until 1995 when her husband had the chance of a sabbatical in Australia.  On their return, seeking a change, Diana taught in schools until her retirement in 2012. 

Diana was so impressed by the Omega Centre in Portsmouth where she had her tutor interview that she decided to gain an English Language Certificate so that she could become involved in the ESOL programme there. Diana has been volunteering at the Omega Centre since February 2016, having completed the CELTA in January 2016, and is now a valued member of the Regional Committee.

Diana says: “As a life-long learner myself, I believe that Adult Education is vital.  It not only enables people to improve their skills and self-esteem; mixing with other people – just getting out of the house – can improve people’s health and well-being.  I’m delighted to help to ensure that learning opportunities can continue in these difficult times.”

 

Lisa Birch - Regional Committee Member

Lisa is member of the WEA Regional Committee and the Chair of a WEA Oxford Community Branch as well as currently working at Ruskin College Oxford, as the Recruitment and Outreach Officer.  

Lisa was a single mum at 16 and her third child was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3 and she experienced one challenge after another. Inevitably, her self-esteem and confidence were obliterated and she felt isolated and with no possibility to create a different future.  When she was 38 years old that changed; the WEA was active in her community and she started classes and gradually discovered an enthusiasm for education. New found skills and self-confidence enabled her, and two other mums to set up a Parent-Teacher Association at their local Primary School, and eventually she became a School Governor. Following this she became a community champion encouraging others to improve their skills through learning.

Lisa progressed on to study a degree in Social and Political studies and is currently finishing a Master’s degree; in 2015 she won the Enterprising Woman Award at the South East England Adult Learners' Week Awards.  

Lisa says “Adult education has been a life changing experience for me over the past seven years. I became empowered, gained confidence and above all developed a lifelong love of learning. I have also achieved employment, and contributed to my community. Education not only enhances the individual’s life, it transforms families and communities.”