Celebrating learning

Dani and tutor, Paul who’s been with us for 8 years

What a lovely evening everyone had when learners new and old came together with our volunteer tutors to celebrate their achievements one balmy evening in July.

Welcomed into the Cheap Street Church by Stephen Uden, our Chair of Trustees, there was much to celebrate – since March 2021 our learners have sat 123 individual exam modules and we are still waiting for the results of many more.

But, it wasn’t just to celebrate academic achievement – it was to shine a light on the commitment and hard work of both our learners and our volunteers, to recognise the extra value that our volunteers bring to their student’s lives and recognise long service – Tony Smith and Paul Blake have been volunteering with us for 8 years!

Mercy and tutor and trustee, Alison Hoffman
Volunteer tutors Helen Devonshire and Anton Bradburn with learner, Ellie

There was a huge amount of warmth and pride in the room as certificates were presented with special accolades for learners by tutors and for tutors by their students. Certificates were presented by invited guests Jill Warburton (Sherborne Town Councillor and Rendezvous patron) and Anne Hall (Sherborne Town Councillor) who all commented on the joyfulness of the occasion.

Thank you for being such a fun Maths tutor. We have so many laughs and I know I have become so much better at Maths then I ever was at school. I used to really struggle but now I feel I have become a lot more confident – Learner to their tutor

As it was our first event since Covid, we took the opportunity to invite past learners to join us and it was lovely to see some old faces and hear what people were doing including two sisters who told us about their achievements in an opticians apprenticeship and hairdressing.

Meanwhile, Heba, who was originally introduced to us by a group of people helping refugees to make a new life in UK, came along with her young family to tell us how she is now successfully studying a degree course in computing. It proved the perfect opportunity for her to meet up with her tutors, Hugh and Judy Griffiths, and the genuine pleasure they had in seeing each other again was evident for all to see.

Rendezvous alumni, Heba with tutors Hugh and Judy Griffiths

We were delighted to wrap up the evening with a short talk from Rhys, an ex learner, who presented flowers to Julie Bartle for her hard work managing the project and Faye Dimdore for all her hard work setting up the Yeovil learning hub so successfully.

Rhys, told us how he had thrived with the practical aspects of his joinery apprenticeship but had not found getting his Level 2 English qualification easy so came to us for a bit of help. We were able to give him the individual support he needed and he is now thriving – always modest about his achievements he is now progressing in his company taking on more management responsibilities, training others and is happily settled.

This special award is for your great commitment and determination. Despite the demands of your baby you worked extremely hard throughout the year. You never missed a lesson without cause, always arrived on time and did suggested homework thoroughly. It was not always easy having lessons and sharing work online (during lockdowns) but you always gave your best. You were very impressive and deservedly passed all three elements of the English exams. – Volunteer tutor to their learner

It was a lovely way to end the formal part of the evening before we moved into the Church Hall for drinks and nibbles and a really good catch up.