Mother-of-four Wins Lifelong Learning Award

Elaine Sutherland overcame illness to become Overall Learner of the Year

A mother of four who volunteers at a local school has said that she is stunned after being named one of the top students at the annual Wandsworth Lifelong Learning Awards earlier this month.

Elaine Sutherland spoke of her pride after discovering she had been named Overall Learner of the Year, having completed several different education courses on offer to adults at Albemarle Primary School, in Southfields.

At the ceremony in Wandsworth’s Civic Suite more than 200 residents were presented with certificates of achievement in a variety of subjects including business administration, information technology, numeracy, book-keeping, literacy and English for speakers of other languages.Lifelong Learner winner Elainer Sutherland

The awards recognise the borough's highest achieving adult learners – rewarding them for their commitment and success over the past 12 months.

Judges said Elaine’s achievements stood out because she suffers from a medical condition affecting her spine, which has had an impact on her ability to access education. Elaine has recently completed courses in maths and literacy, as well as undertaking ‘Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities’ parenting programme.

Elaine, who volunteers at Albemarle helping children to read and at the weekly lunch club at Parkside Community Centre, said: “I was so shocked to win Overall Learner of the Year.
“I started doing a course in maths to help my children at school but I have to say it’s been a great way to keep my brain active. I have achieved level 1 in functional maths and have now moved on to level 2 – and I’m also going to do a sign language course.

“This experience has definitely boosted my confidence and is something that I am certainly going to put on my CV. Not everyone can claim to be Overall Learner of the Year – it’s something to be proud of.”
Another award announced on the night went to Nicola Taylor, who works at the Aspire Centre at Southfields Academy.

Nicola, who for the past eight years has worked alongside the council to support the strategic development of lifelong learning in Wandsworth, was given an Outstanding Contribution award.

The council’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Kathy Tracey, said:“Each year thousands of people in Wandsworth take advantage of the 650 courses on offer through the lifelong learning service. I would encourage anyone who is remotely tempted to learn a new skill to see what is available – you never know what opportunities it might lead to.”


October 25, 2013

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Elaine Sutherland

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