Congratulations to our Elders Company Graduates for winning the Learning Group Award

A week ago, our Elders Company Graduates were chosen as winners of the Learning Group Award at the inaugural Manchester Adult Education and Skills Awards. The ceremony was a celebration of the undeniable fact that learning is for everyone and sharing skills is both rewarding and enriching for the people involved.

Recognised for their work during lockdown, the Royal Exchange Elders Graduates were nominated because of their continued support for one another and their desire to collaborate to learn many new creative skills. Initially challenging themselves to use new platforms such as zoom to meet regularly and attend workshops by the Theatre, the Elders Graduates decided that they wanted to make a permanent record of their creative work and experiences during lockdown. They created BE AMAZED a series of short films published on YouTube. These ‘video diaries’ are a lasting record of the life and experiences of older people during this extraordinary year.

Elders Graduate Graham Gillis said…
"The keynote speech made on the Awards Evening was essentially about lifelong learning and how this continues after school, college, university and the workplace throughout everyone's lifetime. I think the Elders Graduate Zoom group exemplified this. Like everyone else last March, we were presented with a completely new situation and we responded by harnessing the experience and prior learning of every member of a multi-faceted group. Though we were in our 60s, 70s and 80s we were willing to explore pastures new. We individually and communally developed new skills – oral, written, auditory and graphic – and embraced aspects of technology new to many of us. In the process we encouraged and supported each other and gave credence to the old adage that “You're never too old to learn something new”, and this we did, in spades."

In this short film created by the awards team, Elders producer Andy Barry tells us why he nominated the Graduates...

Jacquie Long, an Elders Graduate said...
"I am absolutely thrilled that we won the learning group award in recognition of everything we have achieved together over the last 15 months or so. We have shared skills and learned new ones when we needed to. Most of all we have developed our creativity and imagination in an environment where we have been able to be ourselves. Trust and unconditional support have been crucial. The award is a welcome pat-on- the-back for everyone and confirms that you are never too old to learn. No stopping us now. Watch this space!"