Skills and Education Group Award for social mobility and widening participation - Abingdon and Witney College Case Study

This project empowers local residents to take control of their own learning through establishing volunteer run Learning Hubs, widening participation in learning and supporting progression. Tutors offer a bespoke package of courses which are shaped by the learners themselves.

It is a flexible model which places the needs of learners and communities at its core. The learners take the role of community champions extending the reach and impact of the Learning Hubs county wide.

The number of participants in the Learning Hubs has increased by 33 percentage points over the last two years and engaged more than 200 people in 2017-18. The retention and achievement rates for those on more structured learning plans are an outstanding 98%. As the initiative expands further, locally run, formally constituted Learning Hubs support sustainable change in areas of deprivation and bring communities together, involving key partnership organisations such as housing associations, police and mental health services. Learning Hub volunteers are offered key skills training relevant to community development and social action to ensure the Learning Hub is open and welcoming to all.

Learning Hubs enable local residents to transform their own communities via engagement in a learning project that enhances their sense of wellbeing, purpose and connectedness.