Community Learning Champions

A new approach to adult learning

The London Academy is testing out a new approach to encourage adult learning through identifying, training and supporting Community Learning Champions. Part of a national programme supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Community Learning Champions are people who become active in their community by promoting the value of learning to others; friends, relatives, neighbours, workmates or people they meet at the school gates, at the local shops, or in groups or clubs.

The London Academy is currently supporting 25 Community Learning Champions of all ages and backgrounds who have volunteered to promote learning in their neighbourhoods. They are now tackling the challenge of inspiring and motivating their families, neighbours, friends and communities to take up formal or informal learning through evening classes, IT taster sessions, book clubs, cookery classes or business networking.

The Community Learning Champions approach relies heavily on finding people who will volunteer their time and energy to this initiative. So why have ordinary local people stepped up to become champions? There are probably as many reasons as there are Champions but here are two points of view. Sagar has a young child, so is often pushed for time. So why did Sagar come forward? ‘Having a young child has made me think about some of the bad things going on around us. Being a Community Learning Champion can help me play my part in creating a better future for our children’. And why did Grace come forward? ‘I can see people who are now where I was a few years ago. Being a community Learning Champion means that I can help them because I know how they feel’.

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