Sarah is our Learner of the Year

A VOLUNTEER at Page Park in Staple Hill has won an adult learning award from South Gloucestershire Council.

Sarah Heath was named the Learner of the Year 2023 by the council’s Community Learning and Skills Service, which offers face-to-face and online course for residents to improve their skills, personal development and creativity, and progress their careers.

Sarah took part in health and well-being courses run by the service and said she has thrived as a result.

She now works as a volunteer at Page Park’s allotment area and says she has new-found self-confidence and belief in herself.

Her experience has encouraged her son to take part in a gardening course.

Sarah said: “I have improved my social skills and confidence in meeting other people I would not normally interact with. I am going to take up maths and English again, so I can take my exams.

“I would like to say to the people who are thinking of enrolling, just give it a go, even if you don’t think you can do it. Stick at it!”

Sarah received her award at an annual event to celebrate adult learners from around the district at the Bristol and Bath Science Park.

Council co-leader and cabinet member for education Ian Boulton said: “Community Learning can provide a real lifeline for those who take part.

“I know from personal experience that accessing learning opportunities as an adult opens possibilities that would otherwise have been closed to me.”

In the past year the Community Learning and Skills Service has supported more than 1,200 people with a range of courses aimed at developing confidence and personal skills, preparing for employment, maths, speaking English as a second language and a range of other topics.

It has also given careers information, advice and guidance to 850 people through its employability programmes.

The service received a ‘good’ rating from education regulator Ofsted in July.

Council chair Mike Drew, who presented the awards and certificates, said: “Our Community Learning and Skills Service exists to help people overcome barriers, stretch minds, build resilience and skills for today and tomorrow.

“The benefits and positive impact, not only for them but also their wider family and communities, is a joy to see.”

For more information the service