Category Archives: Informal Learning

Funding cuts pose threat for adult learners

 Every year the threat of funding cuts rears it’s ugly head in adult and community learning, and this year is no different.  We know how valuable many of our learners find our courses – not just from the perspective of developing new skills, but for the sheer enjoyment of making new friends, being part of a group and enjoying their leisure time.

It’s so frustrating that in this day and age the benefits of informal learning for adults are still not acknowledged by the powers that be in terms of sufficient funding and that despite their previous promises to commit to preserving informal learning opportunities across the UK via the Learning Revolution, many providers, ourselves included, will have to make decisions (such as raising course fees and cutting whole areas of learning) that may have an adverse affect on our community. 

The proposed cuts were reported in the Guardian yesterday, and we would strongly urge you to contact your local MP to tell them how important learning is to you. 

In the meantime, why not get in touch with us and tell us why learning is important to you – our blog is widely read and your voice really matters to us.

Post your comments on here and help us fight the cuts!


2 weeks to go!


Admiring watercolours and contemporary paintings

Admiring watercolours and contemporary paintings

 We’re now only 2 weeks away from Inspirations and it’s fair to say we’re all feeling pretty excited about the event!  At this point, it still feels like there’s lots to do, but these things always seem to come together in the end! 

Visitors to Inspirations in 2009
Visitors to Inspirations in 2009


This week we’re co-ordinating the delivery of all the work – we know that some mosaics are on their way to us, and a delivery of photographic work is imminent.  It’s always really interesting to see what our students have been working on and I personally am always blown away by the quality and range of art produced.  Remember – most people who learn with us are ‘non-artists’ who simply enjoy the process of creating something unique and beautiful that reflects their personal styles, tastes and artistic nature.  Every year visitors are astonished when they realise that the work has been produced by people ‘just like them’, which, at the end of day, is what Inspirations is all about. 

Festival Brochure now online!

We’re now only seven and a bit weeks away from Inspirations, and (just about!) everything is falling into place.  You can now download the festival brochure and find out more about what’s happening when and how you can get involved.

As predicted, the workshops are proving to be a hit again, and places are down to the last few on some and waiting lists for others – if you’re planning on coming along, don’t leave it too long.  Give us a call to find out which workshops are still available on 01904 553397.

We’re also starting to get lots of call and emails about the Patch Project, our community free-to take-part textiles piece.  Take a look at the brochure if you’re interested in getting involved.  As we’ve said to lots of people this week, you don’t need to be an experienced quilter or patchworker to get involved; all you need is a bit of enthusiasm and some fabric to get you started.  Once you’ve got your basic fabric patch, you can pretty much do anything you like to it – the quirkier and more creative the better – so far we’ve had all sorts of different styles sent in to the office – from abstract paintings to traditional piece work, poems and symbols, beaded work and applique – all look great and show the different talents of the people who created them – thanks to all!  We’ve been very naughty and not posted any pictures of them on here BUT it has reached the top of the ‘to do list’ so they will be making an appearance tonight and tomorrow!

New Beginnings

Well, 2010 is here and has started in the most dramatic of fashions!  York has been particularly beautiful under a blanket of snow, and touch wood, none of us has fallen over… far! 

Confused geese in York Museum Gardens!

Confused geese in York Museum Gardens!

We can’t pretend it’s easy to get out of bed and come to work in this weather, but we’re really excited to be taking bookings for the festival workshops – several are already booked up and others are close to being full, so if you’re planning to sign up, please do so quickly!  You can find out more on the workshop page, then give us a call on  01904 553397.  

The festival is starting to take shape – we’ve had notification about several pieces of work already, and The Patch Project is now being promoted around the city – if you’d like to get involved, take a look at the project page on our blog – you can also download the Inspirations brochure now and you’ll be able to download The Patch Project handout next week. 

Finally, it’s worth mentioning again that the Learning4Life guide is out now and bookings are well under way.  There are absolutely loads of fantastic arts courses starting over the next few months including quilting, woodwork, chinese brush painting, dressmaking, willow weaving and lots lots more, so even if you can’t join us for a workshop, we hope you’ll be able to come along and learn something new.Enjoy the snow, even if it’s from the comfort of your home tucked up under a blanket!

Learning for Life

The new Learning4Life guide featuring all Adult Education courses is out now in York – you can check it out on City of York Council website, but if you live in York and get a copy of the Local Link magazine delivered, you’ll get a copy of the guide with it too.

Once you’ve picked a course, you can enrol with Future Prospects from Monday 4 January on 0800 834239 or 01904 634748.  The Inspirations workshops are featured in the guide for the first time, but there are hundreds of other part-time courses in York too – I’d like to find out more about Chinese Brush Painting and I definitely fancy learning how to prepare seafood and fillet fish! 

Not every course you take has to give you a qualification – lots of the things I fancy doing (and our learners enjoy) are those which are just for fun and I always meet interesting people, so why not make 2010 the year you meet new people, get fit, learn something new, be creative or find a new hobby.  We’re looking forward to seeing all our learners, both old and new, in the new year!

If you fancy keeping in the loop with all our new courses, events we have on, free courses and vouchers to use on your courses, sign up for ACe-mail, our monthly newsletter, by emailing

The Learning Revolution

As one of the largest providers of part-time courses for adults in York, we’re always really keen to  support campaigns which seek to protect funding for, and promote, informal learning.

After a serious cut in funding for adult learning a few years ago, we were really pleased when the government launched The Learning Revolution in March of this year, a white paper which will hopefully mean we , and other providers, can continue to provide learners with all sorts of different courses – from those which give you a qualification, to those which are people take for the sheer pleaseure of learning something new. 

Keep your eyes peeled for all events and workshops taking place in York next year as part of the project – we’ll let you know on here as soon as we hear about them.

We’ve also signed up the Craft Council’s Craft Matters campaign.  If  you want to let people know that you value craft, make your voice count and sign up too!