Local Success at Adult Learners’ Week Awards 2024

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Lifelong Learning Service has recently supported two successful nominees to win awards at the annual national Adult Learners’ Week Awards Ceremony 2024, organised through Scotland’s Learning Partnership.

Donna Lindsay received the ‘Learner of the Year’ award in recognition of her personal progression over the last two years to overcome anxiety and low confidence through participation in the council’s Lifelong Learning Service’s Creative Writing Course. Within six months, Donna experienced a significant improvement in her mental health and wellbeing and self-confidence that led to one of her poems being commissioned, and Donna has already started on a series of short stories.

Donna has used creative writing to pen traumatic events she has experienced during her life, helping her express and deal with these issues in the process. Donna is now on track to secure employability and has a renewed confidence and personal resilience to create a better future for herself and her family.

The second award went to the Stewartry Adult Craft Group in the ‘Group Award’ category. This local group formed in 2022 to help learners to connect after the impacts of Covid-19. The main aim was to not only learn new skills but to help people who were feeling isolated and struggling with their own mental health. The group has worked together to establish a strong support base and they shape their own sessions with the lifelong learning tutor.
Climate change is a particular focus for the group. Recycling and reuse play a big part in their activities – resources and materials are sourced to allow them to make and create unique products. Some next steps for the group are to display and sell their crafts, investing funds in the group to help with sustainability. The group has plans for a future exhibition to help promote what they are doing and to encourage others to join.
A number of current group members are young mums who have progressed into Lifelong Learning Family Learning sessions, and one parent is keen to become a volunteer tutor with the Lifelong Learning Team.

Through the group, all participants have highlighted improved mental health and wellbeing and increased confidence levels – which has enabled them to feel a greater connection with their local community.

A council spokesperson said: “Donna and the Stewartry Craft Group are to be commended for overcoming personal barriers and being recognised for their respective achievements at national level. Adult learning is an important service whose staff and volunteers provide support to many. If you have been inspired, you can get involved through our Lifelong Learning Service and take the first step on a learning journey of you own.”

The Lifelong Learning Service offers a variety of learning opportunities across the region. Find out more at www.dumgal.gov.uk/lifelonglearning

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