Age is no barrier to new skills

LEARNING to read and write are the basic education skills that every child is entitled to.By a relatively young age, the majority of people have learned how to put pen to paper and read the alphabet.

LEARNING to read and write are the basic education skills that every child is entitled to.

By a relatively young age, the majority of people have learned how to put pen to paper and read the alphabet.

It has been a different story for Peter Brown who has had to struggle through life without the skills most people find essential to get through even a single day.

As a youngster Mr Brown, of Mill Hill, Haverhill, was blighted by illness, including bouts of measles and whooping cough, which meant he missed years of schooling. As a result he never learned to read and write. Now aged of 64 he is learning basic literacy skills.

Mr Brown, who is also partially sighted, is attending adult learning classes at the Salvation Army Resource Centre on Haverhill's Clements Estate. The classes are run by the West Suffolk College, and Mr Brown is one of its biggest success stories.

Due to his limited education Mr Brown has never been able to write a letter, read a book and has always need help to read important document. After a year at the course he has starting to be able to read and is learning simple sentence construction.

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“It has been frustrating sometimes because I can't read and write and I have always had to do manual work in factories. Now I am starting to learn and I hope to be able to write a letter one day. Coming here has really helped me and I really enjoy it,” he said.

The centre runs the course every Friday between 1- 3pm. The support group offers adults the opportunity to study literacy and numeracy from basic sentence construction up to national test standards.

At the moment the group has eight members on its books, but would like to see more taking part – particulary as this week has been designated Adult Learners' Week (started Sat, runs till fri)

Skills for life tutor Beverley Reynolds said: “These sort of groups are vital because not everybody has access to schools and colleges. This is an area of deprivation so the need to educate people here is higher than in other places of a similar size.”

For further information call West Suffolk College on 01284 701301.

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