Inspiring learners honoured

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A group for disabled people has won a top regional award.

Hartlepool-based Incontrol-able, which aims to be the town’s primary user-led organisation for disabled people, has won the North-East region community learning group award at the annual Open College Network award bash.

The Open College Network North-East Region learning awards took place recently at the Glebe Centre, in Murton.

They honour the contribution adult learning makes in improving the quality of individual’s lives and the lives of those around them.

The award won by Incontrol-able, which recognises how enjoyable and effective group learning can be, also rewarded the learning achievements of three members of the group Michael Slimings, Donna Bailey and Martin Harrison.

The three individuals, who are volunteers and staff, aim to provide a user-led organisation that promotes the needs of disabled people across the town.

Each has their own personal experience of living with a disability and their commitment to providing a service to other disabled people helped spur them to participate in a range of courses up to a level three in management of voluntary organisation.

The courses were provided by SkillShare North East and supported by Big Lottery and Hartlepool Borough Council.

Michael Slimings, of Incontrol-able, said: “As Incontrol-able is now a disabled persons user-led organisation we recognise that we want our volunteers, members and directors to have the opportunity to gain new skills and increase the confidence that they bring to the organisation.

“We will continue to actively promote new learning opportunities for people we engage with and who support us to provide them with the skills to develop both individually and with us as an organisation.”

The group was nominated by SkillShare North East, a Hartlepool based charity providing voluntary and community sector training across the North-East.

In the nomination, the SkillShare training team said: “What stands out about this truly remarkable group of people is that they didn’t just take up learning for their own sake – they were spurred on by a desire to develop the skills they needed to run a charitable organisation that will benefit many other disabled people.

“They really are inspirational learners.”