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Suffolk Adult Learners Awards: Inspirational stories take centre stage.

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

The ICM Integration Team with Celina, runner up for Inspirational Learner - Community Learning Award

Have you ever felt that rush of learning something new? That spark of excitement when you push your boundaries and challenge yourself to reach new heights? Well, the Suffolk Adult Learners Awards, which took place this week, were all about celebrating those who have embraced the joy of lifelong learning!

The stage was set, the energy was buzzing, and the Suffolk Adult Learners Awards unfolded in a fantastic display of inspiration and celebration. Hosted by the brilliant Cad Taylor of the Hive, Ipswich, and BBC Radio Suffolk, the event brought together a community of extraordinary individuals who have fearlessly embraced the transformative power of education.

Every nominee had an inspiring story to tell, from single parents balancing work and study to retirees reigniting their passion for creativity, these remarkable individuals proved that age is just a number when it comes to learning.

Among the shining stars of the evening was Celina, a single mother of two girls, who emerged as the deserving runner-up for the prestigious Inspirational Learner - Community Learning Award, proudly sponsored by SCC Adult Learning Service.

Born in Sao Tome and Principe, Celina's life took an unexpected turn at the age of 15 when she ventured to Portugal to reunite with her mother. Completing her secondary education, she embarked on a culinary path, attending courses in care and catering.

In December 2021, Celina's life took yet another transformative leap. Fuelled by her love for her children and driven by their health, education, and well-being, she made a courageous decision to move to Ipswich.

Celina accepting her award with Cad Taylor.

The primary motivation behind this was to secure a brighter future for her 13-year-old daughter, who had undergone a complex brain surgery, resulting in severe partial sight impairment. Celina believed that the UK would provide the optimal environment for her daughter's medical, educational, and social needs to thrive.

Celina stepped into her first ICM ESOL class in September 2022, embarking on a remarkable journey of learning that continues to this day.

“This award represents for me all the effort that I have been making over the long journey and with a lot of dedication and a lot of responsibility.”


Beyond the confines of the classroom, Celina's progress has rippled into her daily life. Armed with improved English skills, she confidently represents her daughter when communicating with NHS professionals and skilfully navigates the complexities of her daughter's educational journey. Recent scan results have brought a much-needed glimmer of hope, and the educational support package is yielding positive results.

When reflecting on the countless trials she has faced, Celina waves her hand with a radiant smile and cheerfully proclaims, "I am a strong woman." Her indomitable optimism and energy inspire all who have the privilege of knowing her.

In addition to Celina's exceptional journey, the Suffolk Adult Learners Awards paid tribute to other exceptional individuals.

Hatice, an outstanding ICM Volunteer, was the runner-up for the Inspirational Learner - Impact Award.

"Thank you very much for all your support. ICM changed my life. l could not do without you. l will never forget you and my first teacher Linda" Hatice

Hatice at the awards ceremony

Kim Trotter, a much-loved ICM friend and partner, claimed the highly coveted title of Tutor of the Year. Go Kim!

ICM Trustee, Daniel Banceanu presented the ICM sponsored award: Volunteer / Community Champion of the Year. Daniel gave an incredibly moving speech about his personal journey with ICM from non-English speaker at just 16 and the impact of ICM on his life.

Daniel presenting the ICM sponsored award

In 2017 Daniel was nominated as the Outstanding Learner of the Year at the awards. Daniel tells us this gave him a reason to continue educating himself, most importantly the award increased his desire to continue making a difference in the community. Daniel is now a trustee of ICM which supports his mission to continue transforming individuals and communities. Daniel also works for the charity organisation Roma Support Group mainly supporting Gypsy and Romany communities. Daniel is currently pursuing a course in Health and Social care at the University of Bedfordshire, so the legacy of the award lives on.

It's been wonderful to see him progress with us over the years all the way from ESOL learner to Trustee and we are proud to have Daniel as part of the ICM family.

Last but certainly not least, Linda Vines, a cherished member of the community, was honoured with the Outstanding Service to Adult and Community Learning award, graciously sponsored by the University of Suffolk and presented by Professor Helen Langton MBE, Vice Chancellor and CEO of the University of Suffolk.

Linda with her award with Professor Helen Langton MBE

The Suffolk Adult Learners Awards stand as a testament to the immeasurable potential that lies within each of us. These awe-inspiring individuals ignite the flame of hope and showcase the transformative power of education.

As we celebrate their achievements, their stories serve as beacons of inspiration, urging us all to embrace challenges, unlock our fullest potential, and create a future where resilience and learning know no bounds. The awards serve as a reminder that we can shape a world where triumphs are celebrated, resilience is cherished, and the pursuit of knowledge is a lifelong adventure.

Well done to all the winners and runners up and huge thanks to Suffolk County Council for arranging such a great event. See you next year!

Whilst we have you. Can we ask a favour?

In previous years we have received funding so that our ESOL learners could sit their exams for free, unfortunately this year due to lack of funding our learners will have to bear the expense themselves.

We believe that no learner should be denied the opportunity to demonstrate their language skills due to financial constraints. That's why we are reaching out to our compassionate community for support.

Are you able to donate to our funding raising campaign? £50 would pay for one learner to sit their Reading and Writing exams.

If you are able to donate you can do so via the link:

Thank you!

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