The end of the term has come with a huge high for the women learners of Chester le Street based Aspire. The services on offer at Aspire cover a broad range of activities around
learning, support and wellbeing and all three were recognised at the glitzy awards ceremony at Ramside Hall on 4th July.
The annual Adult Learning & Skills awards are part of the Festival of Learning and organised by Durham County Council recognising the success, achievements and commitment to learning across the region. Reflecting their huge success at least year’s event Aspire received numerous nominations for their learners, volunteers and tutors, but a special mention should be given to the following who were Highly Commended:
• Kay Walker – nominee Unsung Hero Award
• Val Kilner – nominee Inspirational Tutor Award
• Emma Wilkinson – nominee Volunteer of the Year Award
• Angela Kerr – nominee Volunteer of the Year Award
Aspire itself was recognised as a Highly Commended entry in the Learning Project of the Year Award which was collected by our directors Janice Rokni and Jan Vincent. However, the evening belonged to Aspire woman Sarah Palmer who was overall winner in the Learning in the Digital Age category. Despite being 87 Sarah has been attending courses for the past 18 months, developing her IT skills from Back to Basics to Transferring Skills. Her nomination described her as ‘inspirational’ through her enthusiasm and recognition of the importance of IT as she becomes less mobile and embraces the modern world. In Sarah’s own words “Aspire has helped me to recover from nine years of illness (and) loneliness, having no one to talk to, (it) has made me a whole person again. I am so grateful”
There was further cause for celebration as Aspire’s drumming troupe Rhythm Sisters opened the awards, performing to an audience of over 250 guests. They will be again performing to a captive audience at the upcoming Market Activity Week at Burns Green on 14th August. Aspire will be open throughout the summer hosting Tuesday taster sessions and drop-ins for local women (see website and social media for details) and the learning courses will return in September.