Councillor Roberts Visits HAFLS’ Partners
HAFLS was honoured to organise a visit for the Elected Member with HAFLS as a portfolio, Hertfordshire County Council Councillor Richard Roberts. As Trustee for CAD (Community Action Dacorum), Councillor Roberts has a special interest in community learning. Head of HAFLS, Chantal Lommel, was pleased to introduce him to the CEOs of two of our valued partners, Christine Wyard of ASCEND and Elizabeth Borg of CLP (Community Learning Partnership).
Councillor Roberts firstly visited ASCEND’s Step Up community hub, located in South Oxhey, where he proceeded to learn more about the model and work of HAFLS, ASCEND and CLP.
In particular, he was pleased to hear of the partnership model HAFLS has set up and the great connections in place at community hubs, where lots of other organisations work from. As Christine said, ‘Someone may come in with a drug issue but we are able to then refer and recommend them to another service, run from the same building, without the need to send them off to a different place.’
Councillor Roberts recognised the importance of partnerships and networking to ensure individuals get all the help that they need, regardless of where it comes from. He was interested to hear more about the HAFLS BBO (Building Better Opportunities) project, including the BBO mentor that ASCEND and CLP share between them and use to refer clients in and out of one another’s services.
The issue of funding was discussed at length with both Christine and Liz, agreeing that they are ‘ducking and diving to get the funding’; essentially providing social care every single day of the week, without any of the recognition or funding.
Following their discussion, Councillor Roberts was keen to meet some of the participants on the BBO project who had just finished a crochet lesson, before moving on to ASCEND’s local church where ASCEND and HAFLS learners had completed a Functional Skills English exam that very morning.
(Councillor Roberts has a game of Five Across with a BBO participant master of the game!)
Councillor Roberts was able to talk with each learner to find out the unique stories behind why they had chosen to do the functional skills courses.
For some, the functional skills qualifications are key to gaining the entry level requirements for further learning courses and new jobs. Others are undertaking the qualifications for more personal reasons such as being able to assist a grandchild with their homework before they enter secondary school education.
Councillor Roberts left the visit with a first-hand experience of how HAFLS collaborate with local partners and we hope that as an advocate of adult learning, he can continue to promote and become a champion of community learning across the Hertfordshire community and beyond.
(Councillor Roberts pictured with Functional Skills learners and tutors)