Star Spencer, Learn Devon
I could not walk until I was three years old. Dad told me the funny story of how he put some sweets on the table and I got up and walked to get them. He was amazed. It was a big achievement overcoming that.
By the time I was in my twenties I was living independently, with a carer to help. I did courses with the Prince’s Trust in 2009 and when that finished I didn’t want to just do nothing with my life, I wanted more.
I came to Devon Adult and Community Learning (now known as Learn Devon) at the Bideford Arts Centre six years ago. I felt very down about the way I looked at the time. I started my learning here with Everyday Maths and English and other courses such as Work Matters, Drama Matters and Movie Making.
With the support of our tutor we got our fundraising team (‘The FUNdraisers’) together. We have done a number of charity events and raised money for Shelter Box, Kira Farm in Uganda and Toilet Twinning. The one I enjoyed the most was my very first event with the team, Winter Wonderland dance.
Adult learning has made me think that I can achieve more in life and it has added to my quality of life. I have met different people on the way with different hobbies, dreams and hopes for their future too.
Through my hard work I received an adult learners’ award, now Festival of Learning) in 2012* with a ceremony at a very posh hotel in Weston Super Mare. I even got to meet the eighties icon Cheryl Baker from Bucks Fizz. Never in my life would I have expected to meet a celebrity. It was the highlight of my year and while receiving my award I had three cuddles from the great lady herself.
I like to think that we have made friendships for life here in the groups at Bideford Learn Devon, as they do really make you feel very welcome. Being here is like a support group and a self-made family too.
Being at Learn Devon and having new skills has made me not shy away from things and not freeze. It has made me feel I can achieve anything I put my mind to. It has also given me the skills to have the confidence to get a job. As a result of these courses I also believe that I would meet a partner at some time in my life and build our lives together.
*Certificate of Achievement (South West)