Here in the South West there has been much to celebrate this month.  We were one of the regions featured in the recent assessment to confirm that the WEA is meeting the strict information, advice and guidance standards to achieve the MATRIX benchmark. This is crucial to enable students to achieve relevant life goals in learning, work and career.

The assessor particularly noted the great work of our branch volunteers in supporting students, along with tutors and partners.  A tutor, who delivers an ‘Everyday Skills’ course through a partner organisation (Tricuro), demonstrated the progression routes, available in the WEA.   There has been very positive initial feedback from assessors both for our locality and other regions involved; the full report will be out shortly. 

The South West has also been busy designing workshops for volunteers, initially to train volunteers for another partner organisation, the Gloucester Cultural Trust.  However, our own WEA volunteers benefitted from the opportunity to attend the 2 hour sessions and we now have 4 excellent, introductory workshops available for WEA volunteer training in the following areas; equality, diversity & inclusion, safeguarding & prevent, managing challenging behaviour and working with vulnerable adults. 

Poetry is another item on the agenda, this month, as we are celebrating World Poetry day. In our region, we have taster events, courses and drop-in recitals, all advertised on the website. There are online events, as well, to enable far flung and house-bound students to join in so, there should be something for everyone! Learn more here.

Nationally, there will be a new page on the website called ‘CREATE’, listing the cultural courses on offer across the Association’  For the South West offer, we have been following the work of Architectural Historian, Nicolaus Pevsner, who started his County by County work on the Buildings of England in 1951. Appropriately, his first county guidebook, was written about a county close to home, in Cornwall and what’s more, it is still in print to this day! Learn more here.

Pevsner Volunteering Opportunity
We have already had some walks and talks following Pevsner’s work (Pevsner Perambulations!).  Additionally, WEA staff have been working with the guides’ publishers to support the delivery of a walks and talks programme, linked to the series and we are following up with a ZOOM (video conference) on Tuesday, 9th April at 7.30pm for interested volunteers.  There will be a number of ways to get involved, and for further information on joining the call, please email Wendy Coward on


Finally, you may have heard that the WEA’s new Virtual Learning Environment, called Canvas, went live in December.  We are now in a position to plan and deliver fully online courses and tasters, which allows us to reach many more students, regardless of where they live.  This is particularly useful for rural counties, such as those in the South West.

One of the first courses that we have planned, is a free course - the Inspiring Adult Learning course, specially adapted for volunteers. This course will give an overview of the tutoring principles that are used in our classrooms.  If you would like to join the course – the course code is C3530364 and you will need a pin no. to enrol.  Yvonne Lamerton, course tutor, will be able to supply your pin, so please feel free to get in touch with Yvonne by email: