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Sunderland City Council’s Family, Adult and Community Learning team staged its annual Celebration of Learning event, with more than 100 people including learners, guests and tutors in attendance.Winners were presented with individually designed plates commissioned by local ceramic artist Mark Burns-Cassell and entertainment was provided by the AutismAble singers.

Cabinet member for responsive services and customer care, Coun Cecilia Gofton, said: “Events like this are important to remind us about the impact learning can have on people’s lives. “The council is proud to be able to celebrate their success and also keen to acknowledge the passion and dedication of all of our training providers in helping to achieve this.”

The compere for the evening was Ray Spencer, of The Customs House, South Shields, and awards were presented in categories including ‘A Star is Born’, ‘Most Inspirational Story’, ‘Family Impact Award’ and ‘Apprentice of the Year’.

The ‘Go The Extra Mile’ award to the best tutor went to John Walls, of Age UK Sunderland, while ‘Provider of the Year’ was awarded to Media Savvy CIC, based at St Peter’s Gate enterprise centre at the University of Sunderland.

Eighteen learners were also put forward by their tutors and given certificates in recognition of being last year’s ‘Most Memorable Learners’. They represented more than 3,400 learners who were enrolled on courses in the 2015-16 academic year.The training is funded through a contract with the Skills Funding Agency. After the event, guests commented on the incredible and inspirational stories they had listened to, about people overcoming personal barriers and turning their lives around, due to the support received by their tutors and new-found skills gained on their community learning courses.

Family, Adult and Community Learning Manager, Karen Alexander, added: “We have a fantastic partnership of local training organisations in Sunderland, who can design courses that really capture the imagination of people and help them re-discover the joy of learning.”