Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

Adult Learning Provision in Westhoughton - Survey (2019)

WCN Involvement in Survey

In February 2019 representatives from both Bolton Council and Bolton College attended the Westhoughton Community Network meeting to discuss Adult Learning Provision in Westhoughton. Below are the minutes of that meeting (12/2/19).

Background

The Westhoughton Community College was run by Bolton College providing a range of courses over many years, however with changes to funding and a reduction in course availability, particularly the more hobby-type courses, and the opening of the new and better resourced Bolton College facility in Bolton, the viability of the Westhoughton centre came into question, and despite the best efforts, courses uptake continued to fall and the centre was closed in 2017 - a controversial decision and one that upset many local people, and took away an important local resource.

Both Bolton Council and Bolton College are keen to assess both need and possible reintroduction of Adult Learning provision in Westhoughton – within the confines of budget and obligations as directed by Government. It is hoped that an offering can be put together for the near future (September), making use of accessible community centres across Westhoughton, namely The Hub (Central Drive), The John Holt Youth and Community Centre (Birch avenue) and Westhoughton Library (Town Centre).

A Survey has been produced and will be open until 30th April for local feedback and research into need. Bolton College will pull the responses together putting them into a report which will be shared with WCN and the wider community, and this will be followed up with 'Adult and Community Learning Events' to inform the community of what can be done and hopefully relaunch a sustainable Adult Learning offering in Westhoughton. Details to be announced.

The Survey

This survey has been agreed with local partners such as WCN and is available online via Survey Monkey - the 12-question online survey should take no more than 5-10 minutes to complete.

Take Part in Westhoughton Adult Learning Survey 2019

A paper version of this survey is available - Download - and may be dropped off at either The Hub or the Library, or if you are able, a scanned copy can be emailed to WCN.

Your input will be most appreciated and will contribute to getting this important resource brought back to Westhoughton.

Minutes WCN M32
Bolton College (Adult Learning Provision)

"We were joined by Jayne Taramontana, of Bolton Council whose role as Adult Education Officer is to look at, develop and promote adult learning provision across the borough, as delivered by Bolton College. Aware of the controversy involved in the closure of the Westhoughton Centre (now The Hub), and both budgetary constraints and demands of educational provision that is obliged to improve employability of local citizens, Jayne and her team are to consult with the local community about local need, family learning and how best to use a tight budget whilst ensuring good delivery and outcomes of courses provided."

"Adult Education funding is moving from Government to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Budget (Health, Education, Social Care). The consultation will take the form of an online questionnaire, supported by meetings with key partners, and a 'Learners Week' in June with events and taster courses. Whilst a 'Festival of Learning' last summer did not generate the take-up hoped for, the Council and College are looking to improve and provide some adult provision in Westhoughton, identifying The Hub, John Holt Centre, Library and Washacre School as centres for learning. Being tailored for employment, it is important that courses support work – Maths and English, Digital Literacy (which are free); but self-improvement and skill-based courses such as photography, hairdressing, floristry, cake-making… are available, which can also lead to self-employment opportunities."

"Jayne took some questions: Dave Hendry suggested that mental health through art and creative learning would be beneficial; music too is good for the community – the coming together of the Travellin' Strings post-music course has had a significant impact on those involved, the community and their fundraising beneficiaries. It is not black and white, Adult Education should be about more that getting people into work - self-improvement has other dimensions. Jayne reiterated constraints about demonstrable benefits and added value being part of the equation."

Sam Khan from Bolton College introduced some of current provision and half-day courses at New Bury Community Learning Centre (Farnworth), accessible to Westhoughton residents. Brochures and leaflets were left. More information at www.boltoncollege.ac.uk | 01204 4829660."

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Community Events

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