ICM enjoyed much success at this year’s Suffolk Adult Learners’ Awards, as our ESOL learner Paulina won the much coveted 'Inspirational Learner of the Year’ Award. And it didn’t stop there - our volunteers Elizangela, Lauren, and Jake were awarded Runner Up for the Volunteer / Community Champion Award.
The Suffolk Adult Learners’ Awards, organised by the University of Suffolk and Suffolk County Council, have been running for over ten years and are a way to recognise and celebrate the hard work and dedication of adult learners, volunteers, and teachers within the local community. The awards have become a staple of the ICM year, and we’re so glad to have this opportunity to celebrate our learners and their stories.
We first met Paulina in 2019; she had moved to the UK from Poland and, wanting to improve her English, joined one of our ESOL classes. Paulina has always been a dedicated learner, and even through all of the difficulties of the pandemic she continued to give it her all. Paulina has said herself “I will do everything just to get my English better and better every single day,” and we think that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of ‘Inspirational Learner of the Year’.
Hear Paulina talk about her journey and what this award means to her:
Elizangela first joined us in 2016 as a learner in our ESOL classes, and since then she has become a vital part of the ICM team, progressing to becoming a volunteer and now a key member of staff.
“The experience of being a volunteer for me is really gratifying, helping people in the community who are in certain situations that I have been before is certainly gratifying, because I know what it is to arrive in a country without knowledge of the languages and struggling to communicate yourself. I arrived in the UK 6 years ago, I came here to help a friend in need, and to give my childrens the opportunity of learning a new language, never thought I would need to learn to. But when I started to have problems with communication, I started to learn. I came to ICM esol classes in September 2016, and I studied hard to learn as fast as possible. Today I can communicate myself, and help people in need in my community, and I think of this as a great improvement. This nomination is for me a recognition of all my efforts and I really appreciate it.”
We’re so proud of all of our learners and volunteers, and so pleased that Elizangela, Jake, Lauren, and Paulina’s contributions could be celebrated through these awards this year. Our Integration Team Coordinator Anjali works closely with all four of them, here’s what she had to say:
“We are so proud of Paulina for winning, and of Elizangela, Lauren and Jake for being runners up. It’s lovely to see the hard work of our learners recognised and celebrated at such a well-supported event. All our learners succeed beyond our expectations and we feel lucky to be able to support our community to learn, make new connections and thrive.”