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Siân Thomason Award Winners 2019

27-March-2019
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Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales recently held a celebration of learning event with Grangetown Primary School where the inspirational learning of a group of women learners was recognised as they received our Siân Thomason Award 2019.

English for many of the group is a second language. Their learning, provided by national community college Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales, began with a cake decorating class, helping them to engage with the school through community learning at a time when nearly all were stay at home mums. During the cake-decorating course, it quickly became apparent that there was an eagerness for further learning.

Curriculum Delivery Officer Alison Ghrairi reflected, “It was clear that the women were keen to develop new skills and undertake new challenges. One of the challenges all the women faced was overcoming lack of self-esteem and confidence. Through discussions with their tutor, the women were encouraged to attend our ICT communication course. The course outcome aims to produce a book of recipes the women can cook at home.”

“The book is currently being compiled and once finished the school will sell it to raise funds for extra curriculum activities.”

However the group was also to take a step beyond their Grangetown classroom and discover wider benefits.

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Working together and with the guidance of their tutor and Helena Lalik Grangetown Primary School liaison officer, the women were able to support and encourage each other and to move outside their comfort zone. Discussions highlighted a sense of disconnection from British society, as the group mainly stayed within their immediate (Grangetown) community and very rarely ventured out of the city to the rest of Wales. Class tutor Martyn Watkins, recognized that this same element featured in another women’s group he taught in Llanhilleth near Ebbw Vale.

Martyn recalls, “I also teach a women’s group who meet in a Chapel, led by the Reverend Viv Nicholls. They’d talked about the fact that they had never met any Muslims or Asians and would not know how to react if they did. Viv suggested that the two groups meet and we arranged for the trip to go ahead.”

Over a shared lunch of Pakistani, Yemeni and Welsh treats the women learned about the history of the chapel and the surrounding area, exchanged stories and discussed food, cultures and religions, and were all amazed by their similarities. The visit was a huge success where the women formed strong bonds, and now have a new appreciation and a better understanding of each other.

Kathryn Robson, Chief Executive of Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales said, “This is yet another excellent example of the power of lifelong learning: empowering and up-skilling learners, which supports their health and wellbeing - which in turn helps to develop strong, cohesive and resilient communities. Our active democracy through engagement is a cornerstone of what we do. We look forward to continuing and supporting these and other initiatives. Congratulations to all involved for their much deserved award.”

A Spring visit to the Capital for the Llanhileth women’s group is now in the planning.

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