Bury College is delighted to have won the national Festival of Learning Project Award 2018 for its exceptional commitment to supporting adults in the Bury community.

The Big Lottery Funded community engagement projects Changing Lives (2012 to 2015) and No Barriers (2016 to 2019) have worked in partnership with Bury Adult Learning, the ADAB centre and a range of other providers across the town. The community sessions have supported many individuals by improving their confidence and self-esteem to enable progression for their personal journey back into training and employment. The project activities are delivered in centres across Bury and provide individuals with advice and guidance, bespoke training sessions and access to accredited programmes of study.

The project has successfully engaged more than 750 of the most vulnerable residents across Bury. Learners have completed non-accredited courses, gained qualifications, progressed on to further learning and secured employment.   

The project team take a proactive approach, spending long periods of time working within the community to build trust and engage residents. They deliver tailored activities that respond to individual needs, for example Everyday English, Reading to a Child and Employability Skills, and have provided enhanced levels of support throughout. The mentoring nature provides guidance and reassurance and has been instrumental in securing so many positive outcomes. 

Project participant Elaine Taylor commented on the impact the programme has had, “Thanks to the No Barriers programme I have had access to lots of different courses. I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I saw the different training opportunities that were available. The staff on the programme have been so helpful and friendly that I felt really at ease. I have loved every minute of my time with No Barriers.”

Charlie Deane, Bury College Principal/Chief Executive, said, “We are so proud to have been recognised as this year’s Festival of Learning’s Project Award winner 2018. This award recognises that through strong relationships with partners and vital work carried out in the local community, you can change the lives of so many people. We are delighted to be part of a project which has supported and continues to support so many adults in returning to education, training and employment.”

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute said, “The Changing Lives and No Barriers projects are shining examples of good practice in community learning. A proactive approach and tailored activities that respond to need, combined with enhanced levels of support and effective partnership working in the local area have been key to engaging residents and making a difference in this community.”

"Festival of Learning is all about inspirational stories of people and projects like Changing Lives who show that anyone can benefit from learning. Lifelong learning is vital for all of us as jobs and society change around us. We encourage everyone to give learning a try, particularly in June when hundreds of free activities can be found on our Have a Go Month calendar. Further information on learning opportunities and support with the costs of courses is available through the National Careers Service, colleges and community learning providers. "

To find out how the No Barriers project can help you please contact the team on 0161 280 8559 or