Winner of the Siân Thomason Awards 2017 Announced | Adult Learning Wales

Winner of the Siân Thomason Awards 2017 Announced



The Siân Thomason award winner for 2017 has been anounced as Siân Phillips (pictured) from Holyhead.

Siân’s return to learning came about as respite from caring for her mother for one afternoon a week. Siân sought to do something positive with her time and having seen a poster-ad in a local shop, she decided to attend a Craft class being run by us – which would prove to be a lifeline.

Although she found caring for her mother challenging, Siân always saw the lighter side of life and remained positive throughout – regaling stories of funny incidents she faced to her classmates.

But then, Siân’s mother died leaving her devastated and facing new struggles, including depression as well as alcohol dependency.

According to her tutor Alison Chapman, “At times, Siân was drinking a lot and it was really hard. But the classes became a lifeline as they gave Siân something else to focus on. Creating and researching items as ‘homework’ kept her busy and gave her something positive to do.”

With the help of health professionals, support of fellow students and her tutor, Siân has given up drinking and since March 2016 is no longer dependant on alcohol; Siân highlights this as her “biggest achievement.”

Despite her personal struggle to overcome her addiction to alcohol, Siân’s drive and focus on keeping busy has led on to local volunteering where she helps to run the local flower show. This is an event which brings the community together and raises funds for the Air Ambulance, and thanks to Siân, this event now showcases the crafts that our classes have produced. Siân has also organised fellow students to help her run a summer craft activity at an open event in the Village, to share the skills they have learnt in class with the local community.

But far from stopping there, Siân continues to set herself some personal goals. She has returned to learning Welsh where her ambition is to be able one day to write on a form “fluent in Welsh”, and she has also undertaken market research, where she is now considering starting up a small business selling the items she has made in class and at home.

Her class tutor Alison, is confident for Siân’s future. “With her drive, determination and personality, I am a sure Siân will succeed. She has come such a long way in the short time I have known her.”

“Siân still has her dark days – her ups and her downs – but she manages to come out the other side a little stronger. And even though she faced some very stiff competition for this award I personally think Siân is a very worthy winner.”

We echo Alison’s words and congratulate Siân. Despite facing loss in her life, living with depression and her now previous alcohol dependency, Siân has maintained her positivity, looking out for her fellow class mates throughout.


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