WEA excel at the Suffolk Adult Learners' Awards 2019

This years Suffolk Adult Learners Awards ceremony took place on Thursday 27 June at the University of Suffolk. The Awards are organised by the University of Suffolk and Suffolk County Council. 

WEA ESOL Tutor Maria Beaumont was the winner of the Tutor of the Year award, and the Adult Signpost project was runner up in the Health and Wellbeing Impact Award category.

An outstanding ESOL tutor, Maria has a wealth of experience delivering learning to refugees and asylum seekers. Maria delivers Entry level ESOL courses in the community, working in partnership with Suffolk Refugee Support at Ipswich Community Church. Students benefit from Maria’s learning sessions to improve English skills, wellbeing and confidence, empowering them to develop new skills, build friendships and adapt to life in the UK, supporting future employment and further education.

Maria said "Working for the WEA in partnership with Suffolk Refugee Support has been so beneficial in many ways to both the students, myself and their families. I am working with women who haven’t been to school or finished school early due to war in their country and who desperately want to help their children at school, speak to the doctor and become part of the community. Learners have a hunger to read and write and every week ask for more work. It’s just so rewarding in every way."

Adult Signpost, run by Karen Chapple and Dan Cooke from Haverhill Town Council, supports adults at risk of developing mental health problems, suffering from low mood and anxiety. They meet once a week for freindship, support and learning activitities. The learning sessions help to improve wellbeing and confidence by learning new skills and building friendships. Adult Signpost members have attended a range of health and wellbeing courses held in partnership with the WEA and Haverhill Town Council which include art therapy, confidance building and cooking.

Rachel Turner, WEA Education Coordinator for Suffolk said: "Our participants were very anxious at the beginning of the courses, but at the end our tutor, Denise, fostered an upbeat and lively atmosphere. From this bonding, the participants opened up to one another – speaking about their personal issues and strengthening one another as a team. This enabled them to achieve as a group, providing a great sense of accomplishment and ensuring that group retention was excellent. This project has been an experience that has enriched our local community, brought people from all walks of life together and has provided a means for further learning experiences to take place in the future."

Congratulations to both winners! 

Our photo shows Maria with her Tutor of the Year award certificate and trophy presented by David Ruddy from West Suffolk College (left) and Rachel Turner from the WEA presented with the Haverhill Adult Signpost certificate from Sally Butcher from Realise Futures.