Volunteer story

As the 2019 WEA Awards approach, read more about last year’s Outstanding Volunteer award winner.

Sharon has a heart of gold – and a voice to match.

Sharon joined the WEA through a song writing course that was part of the WEA Heritage Lottery funded Turbulent Times 1918-28 project. She then became actively involved as a volunteer both for the project and the North East Region’s History and Heritage Branch.

There has been no stopping her. Sharon’s next project was a ‘Pop-Up Reading Room’, a weeklong exhibition and programme of events which included an art workshop, historical information and an informal oral history session. Sharon’s enthusiasm to make a difference in her local community means she is now working hard to help WEA run more activities. This includes a funding proposal for a whole programme of adult creative art classes in Chopwell, which is an isolated and socially and economically deprived village.

Sharon just gets stuck in. Her ongoing advocacy at public and committee meetings means that she has been able to promote the WEA by example, as well as presenting our work through her contributions to the project publication, and her newly discovered talent for activist song writing. Sharon’s warmth and intelligence shine through, and she has an ability to bring together diverse groups of people. For example, she welcomed a group of refugees who were using the community centre to join the pop-up reading room event. They had felt excluded by their lack of English language skills, but Sharon ensured they were encouraged and supported with communication via their support worker. Sharon is patient, welcoming, non-judgmental, and yet still displays a sharp eye for detail and helps others focus on the big issues. She is a living, breathing, singing example of everything that’s good about the WEA.

We look forward to announcing this year’s winner in the December Volunteer Newsletter!