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Learning classes for adults with health or addiction issues hailed a success as search for funding continues

PUBLISHED: 13:39 26 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:39 26 March 2018

The 'Yes We Can' project is now seeking further funding. Picture: Andy Newman

The 'Yes We Can' project is now seeking further funding. Picture: Andy Newman

Andy Newman

An innovative project has proved a success as a group of north Norfolk learners have celebrated the organisation's six month anniversary.

The ‘Yes We Can’ project at Merchants Place in Cromer was launched in September with a £3,000 grant from Victory Housing Trust, and is aimed at learners with very low literacy and numeracy skills.

Many of the learners also face mental and physical health and addiction issues, which prevent them from attending mainstream adult learning classes.

Robert, one of those attending the classes, commented, “I like relearning without the pressure of exams. It reinforces what I’ve learnt in previous courses, at a pace suitable for me. There are no alternative courses if you are not suitable to do exams.”

The classes are taught by qualified teachers and learning support assistants, with participants travelling from North Walsham, Aylsham and Sheringham to be involved.

Another participant Caroline added, “I really enjoy coming and I really look forward to my class on a Thursday. My spelling has improved and I’m learning to use the computer. I have made some lovely friends.”

The project has now obtained a further grant to enable it to continue until May, and is now actively seeking funding so that classes can continue beyond that date.

“Many of the people who come to the class are isolated and lack the social skills to make lasting and meaningful relationships,” said Rachel Sidell, centre manager at Merchants Place.

“The ‘Yes we Can’ project has created a friendship group where members can learn in a supportive and mutually-supportive environment, without the pressure of exams, which for many people are a huge barrier to learning.”

John Archibald, chief executive of Victory Housing Trust, visited a class to mark the six month anniversary of the scheme.

He said: “It is striking how this project is unique in providing a non-judgemental and supportive learning environment for people who don’t have the confidence or social skills to take part in mainstream adult learning,” said Mr Archibald.

“It’s not just about literacy and numeracy, important thought those are; for many of the participants, the class is the social highlight of their week, and it is teaching them important social skills.”

Businesses or organisation which are interested in contributing funding so that the ‘Yes We Can’ project can continue when its current funding runs out in May, can contact Rachel Sidell on 01263 519454 or via email at info@merchantsplace.co.uk.

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