Inspirational learners’ determination is rewarded

Karen Hogg overall winner from Eyemouth with sponsers of awards A&A Doyle
Karen Hogg overall winner from Eyemouth with sponsers of awards A&A Doyle

Eyemouth’s Karen Hogg proved to be the A star pupil at the Adult Learners Awards at Borders College.

Karen took the overall award at last week’s ceremony for the inspiring example she set in deciding to study healthy living and give other people with disabilities the knowledge they need to keep well and look after themselves.

Andrew Turner from Eyemouth with Viv Stavert

Andrew Turner from Eyemouth with Viv Stavert

In just 12 months she completed an SCQF level 2-accredited Health Champions course at Borders College, trained as a peer group support leader at a healthy weight project in Eyemouth, been invited to speak at a national conference for the Learning Disabilities Service, made a DVD of her experiences and written her life story.

Judges concluded that Karen’s bubbly personality and intuitive understanding made her an ideal spokesperson to help the wider community appreciate and consider the daily difficulties faced by people with disabilities.

The 14th Adult Learners Awards heard other tales of outstanding endeavour, courage and determination from winners who had taken on the challenge of learning and succeeded. Some had left school without qualifications. Others faced difficulties or disabilities which could have proved overwhelming. All shared a sense of purpose—to overcome these obstacles to improve their job prospects, quality of life and sense of personal achievement.

Berwickshire was well represented at the awards ceremony - Eyemouth’s Andrew Turner taking the 16-25 years Literacies Award and Deborah Longstaff from Chirnside beating off the competition in the senior learner aware for the over-50 years category.

Seventeen year old Andrew started Workwise at Borders College last year, and his confidence has been greatly increased by a placement at Eyemouth Leisure Centre. Staff described him as hardworking, flexible, polite and helpful – a real asset to the team.

Deborah’s progress demonstrates that no matter what difficulties you face, it is never too late to learn. Severely dyslexic, Debbie was pushed to address her problems to ensure she kept her job in childcare. She used various methods of learning to achieve results, and even managed to complete two courses at one time – literacy classes and SVQ in Childcare.

Prizewinners in the other Adult Learners categories were: Hamish Bell from Jedburgh in the– 16-25 years category, SQA Award; Shelly Henderson from Kelso in the– 16-25 years category Young Learners Award; Nikki Miller from Berwick won the 16-25 years category Learner in the Workplace Award; PND Borders won the Group Awards category, Learning through Volunteering Award; Kelso’s Prepare to Care won the Group Awards category Care Award; and Time 2 Chill from Hawick won the Group Awards.

Veronica Blackwood, chair of the Adult Learners Awards, said: “The standard of nominations this year was so high that we found it very difficult to select our category winners. Our learners have worked very hard. They should be really proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Acknowledging all who had contributed to the success of Adult Learning in the Borders, Susan Swan, executive officer of Volunteer Centre Borders, gave the vote of thanks and said: “As each nominee came up to receive their award, we felt so proud that they had made the decision to learn and had achieved so much.”

Caption 1: Overall winner Karen Hogg with Allan Doyle (award sponsor), Alex Watson (nominator), Councillor George Turnbull (speaker) and Awdri Doyle (award sponsor).

Caption 2: Young adult literacy awards winner Andrew Turner pictured with Viv Stavert.