The WEA in Cumbria has an excellent relationship with Workington Childrens Centre which is part of Action for Children.
The annual programme includes a range of family learning, confidence building & health courses, some of which are accredited through the Open College Network (OCN) at levels 1, 2 and 3. Learners are also encouraged to work towards Skills for Life qualifications and many gain accreditation in literacy and numeracy at levels 1 and 2 via the National Tests.
Family Learning courses such as ‘Help a child with Maths / Literacy’ help parents to support the learning of their children while addressing issues with their own skills. Courses such as yoga and art provide a relaxing balance to help cope with the pressures of being a parent. Recognition of the value of learning thus grows in individuals and this in turn encourages learners to strive harder towards reaching their own goals. Achievement is celebrated through award ceremonies, allowing everybody to come together and have a good time.
The input of parents themselves is crucial to the planning of future provision. For example, the WEA has worked alongside the Parent /Carer Network and Dads Group to present information to the Cumbria Family Learning Conference & Action for Children Conference. These groups act as a link between NCH and the wider community, promoting the services offered, giving information, organising fundraisers, coffee mornings and family fun days and surveying what requirements the local families have. Without this support, it would be difficult to meet the needs of the community of Workington.
Learners say their lives would be terrible if the centre was not there. The courses enrich their lives; get them thinking about their futures and that of their children. Holiday activities are a lifeline in school holidays and bring families together. The art and craft days linked to the ‘Every Child Matters’ initiative, helps to promote the five key messages and welcomes new families into the centre.
When asked if attending a WEA course had made a difference to their lives, a number of learners from the Workington Childrens Centre made the following comments:
“I’ve become more confident in my abilities. I’ve started redoing math’s and I’m involved a lot more to benefit me and my family. I have grown so much as a person”
“Yes because I can now apply for more jobs with my literacy level 2”
“I loved the cookery course that I did. I learned how to make soup that my little one will eat as she is a fussy eater”
“The course was so enjoyable it made me want to come and do more”
“It brought my qualifications up to date and I used it with IFL CPD”
“It has made me grow into the person I am today and I now know that I can do anything I put myself to”
“It has made me more confident in meetings and defined my role”
"Yes, it helped me to gain confidence and helped me to develop a healthy lifestyle at home”