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Achievements of some of Cambridgeshire’s most inspirational learners, volunteers and local learning partners have been celebrated at a special awards ceremony.

Cambridgeshire County Council hosted the #BeInspired Adult Learning and Skills Awards 2018 to celebrate the achievements of our learners and partners over the last year.

County Councillor Steve Criswell, Chairman of the Communities and Partnership Committee was among the guests at the awards at Ely College, presented by Lynsi Hayward-Smith, Head of Adult Learning and Skills at the county council.

Also in attendance were Anne Bailey the Co-founder and Director from From the Future and Councillor Liz Every who presented the Excellent Partner award and the Inspirational Learner award.

Overall winner of the Inspirational Learner category, an award to recognise a learner who has come a long way because of a course or service provided by the Adult Learning and Skills team, was Linda Nightingale.

Linda was referred to the Cambridge Community South project in March 2017 as she was having difficulties reading and writing. Living alone since her husband passed away 11 years ago, Linda had been managing letters and text messages as best she could but often felt confused and stressed by these difficulties.

Starting with small literacy tasks Linda progressed to achieve a short course in making a Story Sack for her grandchildren. This enabled her to share her reading and writing tasks with her granddaughter, aged 10.

Recently Linda has gone on to complete the City & Guilds English Reading and Writing practise assessments.

Linda said: “I’m so grateful to Lucy and the team for their help and support. I used to avoid libraries as I found them really confusing and stressful but attend weekly now.

“Improving my reading has meant that I can read stories to my grandchildren, which I never thought would be possible, but I love doing.

“It was a huge shock winning this award but I’m really proud of what I have achieved. I can’t stop smiling and have been telling everyone I know.”

Lucy Frain, Family Learning Tutor who nominated Linda for the Inspirational Leaner award and the tutors at the Adult Learning Skills Centre at Huntingdon Library said: “All who are involved in helping Linda have agreed that her whole demeanour has changed since her first visit to the Adult Learning Centre over a year ago. She now appears happy in her surroundings, cheerful, very keen to learn and comfortable completing any tasks asked of her unaided and without question.

“Her story is a journey of personal, social and emotional stepping stones.

“It’s delightful to see how much progress she has made and will continue to make. I’m very proud of her.”

Cllr Steve Criswell, Chairman of the Communities and Partnership Committee, said:“It has been a pleasure to attend the awards and see first-hand the achievements of both learners and partner organisations.

“The stories we’ve heard are truly humbling and I hope this will encourage others, maybe in similar circumstances, to enquire about the Adult Learning and Skills courses available.

“Inspirational learning needs inspirational tutors and staff and I thank them for their skill and dedication.”

The Adult Learning and Skills Service aims to help individuals, communities and businesses fulfil their potential and to grow, giving them access to a variety of support including careers advice and a range of support for skills development and routes into employment. More details can be found on the website here: www.cambsals.co.uk

Full list of the winners:
Inspirational Learner Winner: Linda Nightingale
Inspirational Supporter Winner: Sue Cade
Inspirational Volunteer Winner: Emily Lodge
Getting into Work Award Winner: Giulliette Biancci
Excellent Partner Award Winner: Huntingdon Nursery School
Excellent Provider Award Winner: Switch Now CIC

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