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Awards Ceremony in Canary Wharf Praises Lancashire LSC Project

Adult Learners” Week, writes Jethro Marsh for FE News, the UK’s largest festival for adult learning, sponsored and organised by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), is drawing to a close tomorrow, bringing the curtain down on the annual celebration of effort and achievement in the sector for 2006.

As the key event for the penultimate day, the festival hosted the Adult Learners Awards for 2006, which were held at Cabot Hall at Canary Wharf in London. This year, a Lancashire ““ centred project entitled “Tell Us Your Story” has been highly commended for the creativity, innovation and dedication of the programme and the staff responsible.

The Project

The project is a collaborative effort and features the involvement of the five North West Learning and Skills Councils (LSCs) – Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Merseyside, and Greater Manchester ““ together with FE colleges, local authorities, voluntary sector partner organisations and the BBC. It seeks to engage with people from a wide range of backgrounds, thus fulfilling the mission of FE as a tool to build participation and inclusion. Many of those who took part in the project possessed no formal qualifications, some were dyslexic and the majority suffered from a lack of confidence in reading and writing.

The programme is almost two years old, and offers the disengaged adult target groups a route into building skills in expression, literacy and creative writing. A number of the learners to have taken part in the project have also written produced and broadcast a drama as part of the Reading and Writing (RaW) campaign by the BBC. Others still have written “The Inside Story: A Guide to Good Storytelling”, which seeks to set out for all to see their experiences.

Local Projects and Accolade

The initiative is set to be launched beyond its current parameters in the near future. Local projects are in the development stage in both Blackpool and in Skelmersdale. These are intended to address the issue of engaging with homeless adults and adults suffering from mental health problems. Further development and expansion seems to be on the horizon, with the BBC already in talks with the LSCs of other areas to roll it out on a national scale. This may well be discussed further at the national conference being convened to spread the findings of the project, which will take place on June 29th in Manchester.

The Regional Development Officer for the North West for NIACE, Jane Ward, is also a member of the steering group for the project. Jane had this to say on the achievements so far: “This is a real exemplar of creative partnership working to further the interests of learners who have earned these awards through their efforts and achievements.”

Jethro Marsh

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