Hafal Community Group Students Get Up and Get Learning
THE Hafal Group from Merthyr Tydfil has been shortlisted for Community Group of the Year award at the forthcoming Inspire! Adult Learner Awards, run by NIACE Dysgu Cymru, the adult learning charity, as part of its Adult Learners' Week national campaign which starts on Saturday, May 14.
In 2009 The Open University in Wales developed a partnership pilot in the Merthyr area, with Voluntary Arts Wales and Hafal, a national mental health charity, providing training and employment opportunities for individuals recovering from serious mental illness and their families.
"When we started working with the Hafal students, they were very apprehensive about studying as they had been out of education for some time," said nominator Eleri Chilcott.
"Having surmounted many barriers, these students have finished the first course and have now moved on to the second.
"They are now able to study without extra support, using a range of Open University IT resources, they have, in fact become independent learners.
"Their story is a prime example of what individuals and communities can achieve when made aware of the opportunities available and given the necessary support resources to take their ideas forward.
"Their commitment and determination to support each other to improve their skills, despite all the adversity experienced, is inspirational."
The four nominees who make up the Hafal group each have their own stories.
Shan Davies felt that the course "made me think about me, which is a very different because when you work in the third sector, in a care setting, everything is about other people. …