Community learning project wins national award

Release Date: 29-Jul-2015
A Hightown community learning project that’s going from strength to strength has won a prestigious award.
Sabrina from KNH with Kelly & Sam from Windybank collecting their award at the NFA conference

Sabrina from KNH with Kelly & Sam from Windybank collecting their award at the NFA conference

Staff from KNH and volunteers from the project were presented with the award for ‘most innovative resident involvement project’ at the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) conference last week. Now in their ninth year, the NFA awards showcase the best people and projects that are helping to improve social housing for tenants across England.

The Windybank project started after the local community centre was refurbished and a children’s gardening club was set up. A KNH community development worker worked alongside local parents to identify common bonds and shared interests leading to the development of a strong group with a strong local identity and a desire to use learning as a means of transforming their community and their own lives.

They brought in Kirklees College to deliver a baking and cake decorating course to a group of mums, who quickly caught the learning bug and realised that there were lots of new things that they wanted to learn and ways of using that learning to benefit themselves, their families and their community.

KNH has supported the group’s development by arranging funding to run ‘cook n eat’ and ‘cooking on a budget’ courses as well as accredited food hygiene training through their community learning programme. Funding also went towards exercise, DIY, safeguarding, IT and job skills courses, and a specialist company set up sports clubs using local facilities – things that the group and wider community had identified as local priorities

Learning new skills and knowledge has helped members of the group develop confidence and skills, which they’re putting to very good use: as well as setting up a new community group, several have found work or gone onto further training, formed a weight loss club, and have taken on volunteer roles. Importantly, the group have been keen to share their thirst for learning with other residents, inviting new learners to join them on the courses that they have helped choose, plan and promote.

According to volunteer Samantha Tingle, “it was absolutely brilliant to be nominated for the award and even better that we won. It’s put Windybank on the map for the right reasons – for all the courses and achievements we have accomplished with the adults and children on the estate.

“Taking part in the courses and group sessions has really helped me build my confidence and skills, which has helped me get the job I’m in now. It’s a fantastic scheme and great to have it recognised in this way.”

Councillor Cathy Scott, cabinet member for housing, said: “The Windybank project is a great example of how staff and tenants can work together to achieve positive and lasting results for individuals and communities.

“I hope this award will inspire others to get involved and learn something new that will make a difference to themselves, their families and their community.”

• If you live in the Windybank area and would like to get involved, please contact Sabrina Hussain at KNH on 07794 217427 or get in touch with Windybank Activites4All on Facebook