A network for anyone with an interest in
adult education and mental health

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As the project draws to a close in St Helens

As the project draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on our Learn to Grow programme, developments and lessons learned, and also on my own personal journey as a tutor and co-ordinator.

Looking back, my overriding feelings are of both amazement and satisfaction at the huge difference that taking part in the project and the courses has made to people’s lives.  This has been a constant refrain in the feedback and evaluation process and there has often been a sense that, for many people, this has been the start of life changing experience.

I’ve learned that the initial IAG interview can be so important for potential learners in that with the right approach and the ability to actively listen, people are able to open up and explore their barriers to learning. Not to be underestimated is the chance to meet a friendly face from the organisation, which can be the deciding factor in taking the risk to actually attend one of our courses.

Once on their chosen course, the non-judgemental, safe and supportive environment fosters a connection between people and affords then them the security to talk openly about their feelings and experiences. For many, it’s a massive relief knowing that other people feel the same.

Finally, it’s been a privilege watching people develop the confidence to progress and move on. We’ve had people go on to do other courses, both formal and informal; return to work or get into volunteering; organise their own self-managed groups; continue on to other providers; and to win awards at our annual learner celebration event.

Almost without exception our volunteers have expressed their gratitude at being a part of the Learn to Grow programme and are looking forward to moving forward with us as we get ready for the new term with our new offer.