National ULR Networking Event

This year’s National ULR Networking Event tried something new – and, largely down to the hard work and commitment of our ULRs, it was a resounding success.

The theme of the event was Learning From Each other – and a key element was provided by the ULRs themselves. Each Regional Learning Committee was asked to organise a stall highlighting some of their most innovative initiatives and, after welcoming speeches by Beryl Shepherd (National President), Kevin Beazer (South West Regional Secretary) and Trish Lavelle (Head Of Education & Training), the first afternoon was devoted to giving everyone the opportunity to explore the stalls.

The stalls included,
Eastern: Car Maintenance
Midlands: British Sign Language
North East: Health & Wellbeing
Northern Ireland: Book Clubs
North West: Healthy Living
Scotland: From Script To Screen & 6 Word Stories
South East: Capturing Course Sign-up from Newsletters
South West: Community Learning
Wales: ULR Development Weekend
London: IT Literacy & Cyber-security

“The regions really excelled themselves with the thought and effort they put into their stalls,” said Trish, “and you could tell from the buzz in the hall that everyone gained a lot from this sharing of ideas.”

The stalls from the Regional Learning Committees were joined by friends and partners with a range of other practical learning resources, including, Unionlearn, CC Communications, The Skills Network and Wranx, meaning that ULRs had a wide range of ideas to explore.
We were also lucky to have three excellent workshops, Rhyme 4 Rights with Potent Whisper, Family Finance with 1st Class Credit Union and Grass Roots Campaigning with Helen Cooper and Sharon Pratt.

The morning of day two was more traditional – but even this broke new ground as Dave Ward (General Secretary), prevented by urgent industrial matters from attending in person still made the effort to beam in and take questions from ULRs via an Internet link. He was preceded by Wilf Sullivan (TUC Race Equality Officer) who spoke about the importance of education in challenging discriminatory assumptions about migration, race and class.

The event ended on a high with the presentation of the Ken McKenzie Awards two both Wayne Callaghan (North Wales & Chester Combined) and Amy Jackson (North Staffordshire Postal Branch) both of whom have been inspirational in the range of learning they have organised for their members.

We also announced the winner of this year’s Digital Photography Competition (Tim El-Shawk from Gloucestershire Amal Branch) and launched this year’s Bread & Roses Songwriting & Spoken Word Award. Throughout the two days the entrants to last year’s competition were played over the sound system for all to hear.

“When you try something new you always run the risk of falling flat on your face,” said Paul Dovey (CWU Education & Training Dept), “But we’ve got a good bunch of ULRs who are always up for a challenge – and they proved themselves once again. It was, and always is, their hard work and innovation that makes it work.”