My son was impressed by my new-found knowledge

Ros Wakeman had hoped to travel the world in 2020, but lockdown kept her grounded in Kent. Instead, she joined the WEA’s Wellcome to Water courses, and embarked on her own online journeys of discovery.

I didn’t know much about the WEA until recently, but I’m definitely a convert!

I remember being interested in science at school, but I either didn’t learn anything or wasn’t taught properly, so my knowledge is very scant. The Wellcome Trust courses felt like a chance to put that straight. 

The Wellcome to Water course was very skilfully constructed with each session focusing on a different aspect of the subject. The knowledge gained through the first four sessions led into the penultimate session, which raised awareness of human needs for water, and then the last session made us think about solutions. Water is a truly global resource and anything that affects water, affects all of us. The core message was that everything is connected and a holistic approach must be taken to addressing issues, if improvements are to be made and problems solved. 

We learnt about the water cycle, the impact of water on weather systems, how we use water as a resource of water in this country and the wider implications for developing nations that don't have access to clean water. So there are so many dimensions – scientific, geographic, meteorological, social – the content was absolutely excellent.

I enjoyed the suggested reading and follow up materials even more than joining in with the course. That’s not meant to be a negative comment on the tutor or the group, but rather how many fabulous things there were to read and watch online. I had picked water because my son in New Zealand is currently studying for a master's degree in environmental science, specialising in hydrography. He was pretty impressed by my new-found knowledge, which was pleasing. 

If there’s a silver lining to the lockdown, it’s that the WEA have offered courses on a national basis that maybe wouldn’t have attracted the same commitment locally. I have signed up my husband and a friend for a course too. So, I’m spreading the word. 

I knew a little more about the Wellcome Trust, but it was interesting to get a wider perspective. It wasn’t forced down our throats, but I became more aware of all the good things they’re doing. As an ex-teacher myself, I thought the tutors had a lovely teaching style. I could have learned a few tips from them when I was working. They know their stuff and they were brilliant at delivering it.

View more stories