Lifelong Learning: Working on our Wellbeing


From confidence building to calming techniques, Surrey Adult Learning’s Community Outreach programme offers courses on life skills you didn’t get taught in the classroom.


Words | Orin Carlin


Were you the teacher’s pet or the class clown? At Surrey Adult Learning, it doesn’t matter – regardless of what was once written in your school report, they’re ready to add you to the register. This local organisation is proud to offer hundreds of courses, workshops and lectures, spanning across all areas of life, work and leisure to adult learners. Inclusivity lies at the heart of their ethos and there’s something

for everyone – whether you’re a complete novice or wanting to improve your current skillset.


Surrey Adult Learning has been helping residents to achieve their potential for many years. Finding ways to adapt to the pandemic is their latest challenge but they’re committed to meeting the needs of adult learners in and around Surrey. They have adopted a blended learning approach, delivering courses online where possible with others remaining face-to-face.


“People that wouldn’t necessarily come on a course, have been learning with us from the comfort of their sofa,” says Angela Eaton, Business Development Officer at Surrey Adult Learning.


Comfort and a feeling of being safe is really important right now, and if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that mental health matters. Coping with the stress of a pandemic has been a real struggle for many. It feels more important than ever that we take time to think about our emotional wellbeing. Surrey Adult Learning’s Community Outreach programme aims to support those who are facing significant life challenges such as homelessness or redundancy.


“We’ve had people that come on our courses and go on to start their own businesses. And that’s something that we shout about!”

The courses on this particular programme are already funded and therefore free to adults aged 19 and over (subject to eligibility).


The ‘I CAN’ course focuses on building self-confidence so that learners can begin to feel more in control of their lives and able to navigate life’s difficulties. Also available are ‘Mind, Body and Soul’ courses which have a similar wellbeing focus but cover a broader range of activities. Creativity Through Art, Tai Chi and Stress Management are just a few of the three-week sessions that are on offer.


Angela is keen to emphasise the ways in which both learners and tutors can benefit from the courses. “The outcomes and the possibilities are infinite,” she enthuses. “The tutors, I think, get great fulfilment from seeing people enjoy themselves, learn, achieve, and progress onto other things. We’ve had people that come on our courses and go on to start their own businesses. And that’s something that we shout about!”


Although this past year has seen many of us starved of our usual social interaction, striking up new friendships is something that we can hopefully look forward to doing again soon. Surrey Adult Learning’s courses can help, as they are a way of bringing together likeminded people. “It is all about mental wellbeing, improving resilience, improving our focus and helping our learners out of isolation,” Angela points out. “It’s about how we, as a community, can heal.”

To find out more visit surreycc.gov.uk/schools-and-learning/adult-learning

For enquiries via telephone 0300 200 1044

Email adultlearning@surreycc.gov.uk

Follow @surrey_al on Instagram