Celebration of Learning Awards 2020

8th May 2021 Date of publication

One Awards Celebration of Learning Awards 2020

Achievements of Learners, Tutors and Centres were recognised at our Annual Celebration of Learning Awards 2020. The Awards recognised best practice, originality and not least, achievement within learning, focus on learners, and the people and organisations that have enabled innovative and often life-changing learning to take place in many diverse venues throughout our region and beyond. Due to the current restrictions the event was held online, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm for the shortlisted nominees.

Winner - Innovative use of One Awards Quality Mark – ILM Associates

ILM Associates have worked tirelessly during the past year in difficult times to facilitate risk assessments to suit the current times and ensure delivery can be maintained to clients with specific needs. The Countering Aggression and Personal Safety course was developed by the staff of ILM Associates, over the past year the course has attracted unprecedented attention and has now been seeded into Durham County Councils mandatory training as part of their newly formed Covid Enforcement teams, council Bailiffs and Neighbourhood Wardens teams.

Feedback from Durham County Council:

“The Personal Safety and Conflict Resolution training provided by ILM Associates is ideal for our Neighbourhood Enforcement staff. The trainer has excellent knowledge and experience of the type of incidents that our Neighbourhood Wardens would encounter and was able to tailor the training to meet our specific needs. We had excellent feedback from the staff. Some of the comments received included “the training incorporated a good mix of theory and practical” and “the breakaway and intervention skills taught were very simple, easy to learn and use”.   

Winner - Outstanding Provision of One Awards Learning – The Cornforth Partnership

The Cornforth Partnership is a robust charity supporting local people facing severe hardship and disadvantages due to high levels of deprivation in their local community. The organisation utilises its One Awards programmes to educate, inspire and progress vulnerable people to achieve better, make better lifestyle choices and to sustain positive changes to their health and wellbeing.

The Partnership currently offers three One Awards programmes:

Understanding Domestic Abuse and developing recovery strategies also known as the Hearts and Minds project.

Due to the high emotive subject, the partnership utilises its full staffing team to ensure participants are well supported throughout and beyond, taking a whole family approach the Hearts and Minds programme has supported over 200 women to move forward sustain positive change and re-build broken family relationships.

We offer participants the opportunity to progress on to our “Let’s Volunteer” programme.

The volunteer programme aims to support participants and local residents with lived experience to become community mentors, and utilise their experiences to support other members of the community and families to make positive changes and overcome challenging times.

Finally, The Partnership utilises its One Awards provision to educate and support vulnerable young people at risk of engaging in risk taking behaviour to make healthy choices particularly in relation to sex and relationships. The programme supports young people to explore their personal experience thoughts and beliefs and actively challenges their misconceptions and provides them with the right knowledge to be able to make healthier life choices.

Winner - Outstanding Provision of NOCN Learning – Media Savvy CIC

Media Savvy (MS), have been offering NOCN provision since 2012 and are actively delivering five qualifications which are split between our IT / digital and health / wellbeing pathways as well as a SETPD qualification which we have optimised to represent a qualification in ‘volunteering’.

As of March 2020 they moved a significant amount of our teaching provision to online delivery, via live streams on our YouTube channel transforming it into an active and successful platform for teaching, learning and assessment in a very short space of time. Much of the content linked to the above statistics contained supplementary learning. Our core NOCN delivery has spread across YouTube and Zoom private links since March 2020.

We have always been proud of our responsiveness and ability to efficiently adapt to different emerging situations, and COVID-19 certainly provided us with our biggest test to date. Examples of proactive things we did to help ensure our migration from an entire face-to-face offer, to being completely virtual include:

  • Providing our own kit and facilitating long-term loans to enable learning to continue
  • Creating and publishing helpful and easily accessible tutorials
  • Increasing our contact methods and monitoring all (new and old) even more frequently
  • Creating new TLA resources, optimised for online delivery
  • Offering even more personalised learning pathways
  • Offering bookable ‘one-to-one’ tutorial slots (above and beyond usual GLH) N.B. There has been a heavy uptake on this by some learners.

Runner Up - Learners Choice for Tutor or Group of Tutors, Lisa Miller and Haythem Tawfiq, Media Savvy


Lisa and Haythem from Media Savvy are great tutors and continue to be despite learners having finished their level 1 and 2 courses. They keep in with them touch via email and provide support when needed. Even outside of training hours they were always responding to emails and answering phone calls to help learners and provide advice.

If our equipment broke, they were kind enough to lend one of their laptops so I could continue to learn. Both Lisa and Haythem have proven that they will go the extra mile for their learners.

Runner Up - Learners Choice for Tutor or Group of Tutors , Brian Dawson and Robert Longstaff, ILM Associates


Brian has always been an exemplary tutor to all of his trainees, however this past year has been even more challenging as one of our clients required extra training for their newly employed Covid Enforcement Teams and Neighbourhood Wardens who they needed training for to sustain and support the local community.

Part of their mandatory training that has been included within their job role is the One Awards endorsed Countering aggression and personal safety course, this year though he has worked with Durham County Council training team to ensure that the courses, were risk assessed and the safety measurements required were implemented, enabling the training for these personnel that work in vital community roles could be carried out to ensure that should they come into aggressive or conflict situations they were in a better position to know what to do to protect themselves.

Throughout this lockdown Robert has been a rock in ensuring that quality has prevailed during these unprecedented times, he has pioneered and worked tirelessly to ensure not only that ILM Associates maintain a good name for quality and can continue our training services and setting precedence to ensuring that the courses offer maximum learning while maintaining quality by online delivery which in these times is becoming more and more relied on.

Winner - Learners Choice for Tutor or Group of Tutors, Sonia Ritchie-Park – Swan Lodge

Sonia is a tutor at Swan Lodge, a life house in Sunderland.

From the very start Sonia put me at ease and I felt calm and relaxed when I am normally very anxious and panic when it comes to learning new things. Sonia explained everything to me very clearly and I could ask for help at any-time. Sonia delivered the course with such confidence and I would do another course as my knowledge and skills would be used to help me in the future.

I have gained so much confidence from Sonia’s provision of courses and the way they are delivered. She creates a very safe environment to learn in and is extremely encouraging and supportive. I have not only grown educationally but also as a person allowing me to re-engage socially. I cannot thank and praise her enough.

Winner – Learning Group, Tenancy Achievement Group, Swan Lodge

This group have not only worked throughout the pandemic, but they have wholeheartedly put their heart and soul in to completing their qualification. As we are a bubble, they chose to complete face to face learning, and when there was an out-break we switched to remote learning which they all embraced, due to Covid we put measures in place which included hand sanitiser, washing facilities, and distancing. We ensured that each learner had their own learning pack so no one was using other pens etc and they all took this in their stride. We had lots of fun and many commented that in some ways the group helped them with the pandemic as it kept them busy and gave them a focus which is great.

All of the learners are homeless learner’s and many have had a chaotic life with many personal challenges some this was the first learning they had completed in many years and to some this was the first qualification they had even completed.

The quality of work they produced was fantastic and it was a joy to teach the group with the other tutor and to be honest in some ways they have helped myself get through the last few months with their laughter, and dedication.

Runner Up Personal Progress, Steven Graham, The Bamburgh Centre

Steven has previously been an inpatient in a secure mental health unit and has spent a number of year’s undergoing treatment both in the prison and hospital settings focusing on his recovery and return to the community. He recently made the important transition to the community and is living independently. Steven volunteers at a charity shop one day a week in his local community of North Shields.

The Recovery College and Education Team asked Steven if he would like to come back into the mental health environment as a volunteer and support some of our patients to complete the volunteering course.

Steven agreed to help us and came back co-facilitating the volunteering course along with myself to some of our learning disability patients. Steven attended over a period of 8 weeks and along with completing the course himself, he supported a number of our learners through sharing his experience of volunteering and encouraging them with their English skills. He used his volunteering role with us to complete the unit ‘undertaking a volunteering placement’. He also received some positive feedback from our learners on how he had helped them whilst completing the course.

Although Steven’s volunteering in secure care has been cut short because of Covid regulations, his achievement and support should not be underestimated. He has shown that through his own inspirational journey, he can demonstrate hope and motivation to others who may be at the beginning of their own recovery path. Through sharing his own story through lived experience, he has shown through determination and perseverance the transformational power of learning and is willing to pass this onto others around him.

Runner Up Personal Progress, Samuel Everett-Crosby, Ascent Academies Trust

Sam is his final year of his Preparation for Adulthood Study Programme at Barbara Priestman Academy Sixth Form.

Sam has completed NOCN Independent Living qualifications and is now working towards completing NOCN Employability Skills and NOCN SETPD Award which encompasses units relating to his love of outdoors. Sam’s grandfather who recently passed away was a fantastic supported of the Academy and donated trees which Sam and his peers planted in forest school.

Sam is an advocate for our ECO school and actively takes responsibility for recycling in Sixth Form helping to keep the student common room tidy and organised as that is a base for Sam’s groups Enterprise business who run the Friday Breakfast Sandwich Company.

Sam is responsible for keeping the kitchen clean and organised and methodically empties the dishwasher and ensures that the company runs smoothly. Sam has made great progress with his independence, taking responsibility and developing systems to support recycling. He has had to ensure that operations adhere to Covid rules and are safe and has shown resilience and maturity and ability to cope in challenging times.

Sam maintains the grounds within our new sixth form site and takes charge of ensuring its litter free and a welcoming environment.

Winner Personal Progress, Gillian Wilson, Swan Lodge

Gillian landed up homeless just over a year ago, she was very shy and lacked confidence.

To try to get Gillian out of her room I asked her if she would like to come and do some cooking this seemed to act as a switch as she began to enjoy learning so much that she signed up for any course that she could. In her time at Swan Lodge.

Gillian has now completed career preparation unit, Functional skills Maths entry 3, Skills for employment, training and personal development, and is currently awaiting results for her English Entry 3 and Maths Level 1 functional skills.

Gillian has had lots of personal issues to deal with over the last year including the death of her partner while she was on the courses, not only did she persevere through her courses she said how they helped her through this difficult time by being kept busy, Gillian now helps other learners and still enjoys coming to cookery classes, before Christmas she took part in the Salvation Army bake off across the region and came third place with her beautiful red velvet cake.

Her confidence has grown and now it would be out of place if she was in her room. Gillian has not just been a pleasure to teach but it has been an honour to watch her grow not just academically but as a person. She really deserves recognition of how far she has come and her dedication to learning.

Winner - Young Learner, Callum Longstaff, Groundwork South and North Tyneside

Callum has been a student at Groundwork SaNT, Route2Work college since 2017, before this Callum tried a few other training providers and colleges but found it hard to settle and engage in any kind of learning environment due to his learning difficulties and A.D.H.D.

Callum needed a lot of one-to-one support with his Maths and English and gained this through a lot of hard work by engaging with tutors and support staff who helped him to understand his weaknesses and what he had to work on. Through hard work and determination Callum achieved his Level 2 Maths and English, which boosted his confidence enormously.

Callum has also achieved L1 in Horticulture and progressed onto L2 SETPD (Land Based Units) which he also achieved.

Callum’s work placement is at a local Engineering company within close proximity to the college and Callum's home. Callum attended one day per week with a member of support staff, which was gradually withdrawn allowing Callum to attend independently. This was a huge achievement for Callum, and he then began two days per week, then eventually three.

The employer of the company is so pleased with the attitude and quality of Callum’s work, he has offered Callum a full-time job within the company which Callum started in January 2021 with some in-work support from the college. His employer is looking to start Callum on a Level 3 Apprenticeship.

Callum and his family are delighted with the result of all his hard work and determination and everyone at Route2Work College wish him every success in the future.

Runner Up Commitment to Learning David Adams, Media Savvy CIC

David started working with Media Savvy in 2019. From the outset it was clear that he was extremely able and confident using the digital imaging software and wished to gain nationally accredited qualifications to enable him to add to his CV and progress.

He attacked the Level 1 IT User Skills and progressed through Level 2 and also completed the NOCN SETPD course at a rapid pace. During his time on the Level 1 and 2 IT User Skills courses David went above and beyond the requirements for each unit and in the remaining time decided to work with other specialist software After Effects and Illustrator; at times having to work with other tutors to gain the required technical support.

David has his own Instagram page where he showcases his own Graphic Design freelance work. Understanding the uses and positive impacts that social media can have, David has and continues to submit pieces to Media Savvy to share on our Facebook page.

He has progressed onto a Level 3 Diploma in Computer Science and Software Development at South Tyneside college and has expressed an interest in working with Media Savvy in the future.

David says “This award means a lot because it shows I’m progressing quickly in Graphic Design and Animation”

Winner Commitment to Learning Sarah Robson, Media Savvy CIC

Sarah came to Media Savvy after seeing a Facebook post on the local Mind page at the beginning of lockdown in 2020. She is interested in all arts and had never used any image manipulation software packages.

Sarah was very nervous about having to be on video in zoom during the sessions and she was assured that she could have the video disabled and still engage in the live group session.

Sarah attended each session with enthusiasm and awe in all the new tools and techniques she was learning. She explored further in her own time and was committed to gaining as much out of the sessions as possible. Even without the video enabled, Sarah gave encouragement and peer support to the rest of the group and contributed to every task and session with the same level of enthusiasm, engagement and gusto, inspiring her peers to do the same.

During the pandemic Media Savvy have ran a YouTube livestream chatshow and after the Level 1, I approached Sarah and to my amazement she agreed to be a guest on the show! She was brilliant, was on video for the first time and a really engaging guest. After that there was no stopping Sarah, she has enrolled onto the Level 2 and now has the video enabled. She is passionate and committed to her and others progress.

As part of the Level 2 IT User Skills course learners are tasked with creating a video, Sarah decided to create something for the benefit of all, a mindful video to support people during lockdown. When the video was shown as part of the show and tell at the beginning of a session, another person on the course mentioned that he thought her video should be shared by the NHS and offered to send the final piece to a friend of his at the CCG.

Sarah has also recently progressed into employment with a partner organisation of ours Sunderland Literacy Aid in an administration role.

On winning the Award Sarah said "I was overjoyed to find out that I had been nominated for the Commitment to Learning award by Lisa at Media Savvy CIC, I never expected to win so you can imagine how overwhelmed I was to get an email letting me know that I had been chosen as the winner! Winning the award has really inspired me to keep on learning as much as I can & not let any opportunity slip away. I would like to thank Media Savvy CIC for all their training, support and encouragement, especially Lisa.“

Congratulations to all nominees on their achievements and we wish you every success in the next step of your learning journey.

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