Building stability with art
Sara Rose enrolled on an Art for Health & Wellbeing class two years ago while struggling with bipolar disorder and social anxiety. She then attended further courses – Creative Drawing, Weaving and Textiles – and all the while, the WEA helped to build up her confidence in a gentle way.
Originally a maths teacher in Turkey, Hava was eager to continue sharing her knowledge. When she attended her first WEA class she had low levels of English language skills but did not let that be a barrier. This year she has been accepted to study PGCE Maths at the University of Oxford.
A connection life-line
Learning to live with Covid-19 has been hard for many, but particularly the clinically vulnerable who needed to shield and who are still cautious about mixing with others.
Isolation and poor mental health was a risk for many, but for David, who is blind and clinically vulnerable, with limited hearing, WEA was one of few opportunities to keep connected with his community and mentally stimulated.
Back to work after 19 years
Linda was forging a successful career as a secretary, before becoming a full-time mum. Thanks to an Employability Skills course with the WEA, she has found a role with the NHS that will boost her feelings of self-worth.
Writing a new chapter in education
Kimberley Robinson attended a WEA “Introduction to Support Work in Schools” course that was delivered in partnership with the Essex Jobcentres under their Skills Work Academy Programme (SWAP).
Learning to crawl again
Seinab moved to the UK and struggled with her English skills. Joining a WEA class not only gave her the language skills she needed but also made her more confident to support her children.
A friend to all who know her
Hazel came to the WEA in 2019 after exhausting all avenues into education. She found the childcare assistance she needed to complete her studies and volunteer placements – and so fulfil her dream of working in a school. She has developed a thirst for knowledge with the WEA. Who knows how far it will take her?
Now I'm Free
Tulay was unable to access the ESOL classes she needed when she arrived in the UK from Turkey – until she discovered the WEA’s New Links project in Coventry.
Never too late to learn
Margaret’s teacher taunted her as a child because she couldn’t read. Her confidence evaporated. 40 years later, encouraged by her WEA tutor, she is now a published poet.
Becoming self-employed and helping others
When Sam found herself unemployed due to long-term mental health difficulties, she turned to the WEA for new skills. With her online business now up and running, she hopes to help others face their mental health challenges.
No rush, no pressure
Vicky has completed the Include IT* Course at Change Grow Live in Widnes. During lockdown, she received support from the WEA, including the use of a tablet. She has now progressed to studying maths and English, and is completing an accountancy course at college.
Crafting her role in the community
After taking a break from education, Lucy found a route back into teaching following a chance conversation with her tutor. Although COVID-19 disrupted her plans, new avenues opened in arts and crafts that brought support to local learners during lockdown.
An invitation to speak
The WEA has worked in partnership with the Scottish Refugee Council for many years, supporting their mission to integrate refugees into Scottish life. Parisa is an Iranian refugee in Glasgow who attends WEA’s ‘Survival English’ courses, which are designed to give refugees the language skills to communicate in their adopted homeland.
Passing it to the next generation
Donna, who suffered from negative attitudes and discrimination due to her physical disability, found a new voice to express herself through writing. A WEA writing course gave her a new strength to overcome her challenges and also had a positive impact on her daughter.
Busy as a bee
Throughout the pandemic, Graham has helped with non-stop volunteering for the WEA Reach Out programme. He’s looked after the local beehives, the main one being on the roof of Aberdeen theatre and made up food parcels and, late at night and very early morning, distributed them to the homeless. As if that wasn’t enough, as part of his daily exercise during lockdown, Graham did environmental clean-ups and helped run the Reach Out hillwalking group.
My passion for work ignited again
Jason joined the Money Sorted in D2N2 project, which offers guidance to people in the East Midlands who are struggling with their finances. He explains how the WEA has helped him to gain confidence in money management, and then train to become a Money Mentor.
Skills for life
This group of 10 learners from Freedom Support Solutions joined the WEA 1 Click Project for Learning Difficulties and Disabilities. The day centre services aim to improve confidence for life and work. During lockdown, WEA tutors taught courses online, which helped alleviate anxiety during this period of uncertainty. They have developed independent living skills and become active members of their families and communities.
Back from the brink
Richard’s life was turned upside down by a violent crime. His mental health suffered. He found support from the Stonham Home Group, a support service and long-standing partner of the WEA in Rotherham, and now he is looking forward again.
Growing pride in the community
Without the right language or IT skills, it can be almost impossible to find a job that reflects your abilities. Rehana has mobilised WEA support to remove barriers for Asian women in Rochdale.
Humour is a common language
Emma leads WEA tutors in a large EU-funded ESOL project for refugees in Glasgow. When lockdown hit, Emma’s dedication kept the project alive and greatly enhanced the WEA's profile within the city and across Scotland. By maintaining a link during these last difficult few months with these ‘new Scots’, she has given them a voice and the opportunity to use it.
Making their own luck
Ian is a WEA volunteer with the Lloyds Banking Group. He lives in Edinburgh and volunteers in Kilmarnock. By helping others find the right route, he now appreciates his own journey through life.
Spark of inspiration
Kate’s knowledge of East Anglian History is phenomenal. Her courses are intensely prepared, exceptionally well devised, intricately researched, fabulously presented and totally engaging. She goes above and beyond in terms of researching related books, music, websites and historic documents and providing the meaning behind antiquated vocabulary. Described as patient and kind by her learners, it’s no surprise her courses fill up very quickly.
Listen first, then show
WEA tutor Fatima recounts her growing friendship with an Iranian refugee called Amin, who is learning English in her class. When you leave your community behind, education can find you a new one.
Reawaken your lust for life
Yvette Crossman was widowed four years ago, and when her son went travelling, she found herself struggling with isolation. Now, an Arts & Crafts course gets her out the front door and into a group of kindred spirits. The old Yvette is coming back!
Emerging from the shadows
Debbie dropped out of school, believing she was useless. Following her WEA courses in Falkirk, she is now a published author and a committed learner. Education has helped her to walk tall again.
The first step is often the hardest
Ross has worked for the WEA in Scotland for 16 years, mainly on literacy and employability projects. In his experience, if a learner can re-enter the classroom, they are already well on their way.
The tutor next door
Meet Fauzia, a sessional tutor who helps members of her local community to improve their English skills. Her greatest assets? Patience and empathy. After all, she took the same journey.
Find your comfort zone
Rebecca, one of our tutors in Rochdale, explains the importance of creating the right environment to learn. Lesson number one: this is nothing like school.
Building Strong Inner Confidence
Carol's family life consumed most of her time and she forgot all her needs. Attending a WEA taster session encouraged her to join a class that expanded her knowledge on different topics and allowed her to develop really strong friendships with other parents and carers.
Helping navigate life’s difficulties
Victoria had a challenging time with her little boy's health which led to stressful situations. Studying at the WEA helped her to embrace new activities and in turn feel re-energised and positive.
We learned so much!
The WEA’s Harjinder Doran is manager of Tandrusti, a health education programme for BAME communities in the West Midlands. She explains how the Wellcome Trust brought the thrill of learning science to her students.
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 landed my perfect job
Sarah said that studying with the WEA was great for her as a single parent. She was able to study something online that she had always been keen to do, and is now in her dream job.
Keep focused on those dreams!
I still have the time to pursue my dream of setting up a social enterprise. Through this, I hope to be able to make a difference to the lives of those affected by abuse and/or who are struggling with mental health difficulties.