Tag Archives: mums

Supporting the wider community

26 Mar

In our work with Opportunity Plus, we have come across some truly fantastic community centres and groups, and we want to share some of the great work that is happening out there.

Does your community group need some support? 

Here are some of the things that we can do for you:

  • Create a Facebook page for your community and teach you how to use it
  • Offer free face painting at fundraising and other events
  • Feature you on our blog.
  • Get in touch to see how we could help your centre.


Balloons work with bereaved children in the Exeter area to help them through the grieving and healing process.  They have volunteering opportunities available and offer full training.  Find out more at www.balloonscharity.co.uk

The Hub Yeovil

The Hub Yeovil is a community centre working with disabled people.  They run a range of microenterprises to teach members valuable life and enterprise skills.  www.thehubyeovil.co.uk

Healthy Babies UK

Healthy Babies UK provide training to healthcare professionals, children’s centre staff, nursery workers and mothers to support the health, development, and wellbeing of babies and young children.  www.healthy-babies-uk.org

The Money Advice Service

If you have any questions about money – investments, debt, budgeting – then the Money Advice Service can help.  Call them on 0300 500 5000 for free advice and support.


The Education and Training Level 3 course has replaced the old Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Sector qualification, and enables you to teach anything that you are qualified or experienced in to adults (16+).  Information, Advice and Guidance is another useful qualification for the community sector.  Call us or email info@opsw.co.uk for more information.

What community centres do you use?  Why not visit your local centre to find out more about what they do and get involved!  Check out www.do-it.org or your local CVS office to find out if there are any volunteering opportunities near you.

Return to Learn

2 Dec

We have met many inspirational people who have returned to education later in life; here are some of their stories:


“Some years ago, at the grand old age of 33, I decided it was time I got a proper job!  I had worked in pubs and shops and offices but felt unfulfilled; I could be heard to say that I didn’t want to have “Here Lies Unfulfilled Potential” written on my tombstone.  I was really the only person that could ensure that that didn’t happen.

I was the single Mum of two lovely children, both of whom were now at school.  This was my time!

I embarked on a Return to Learn course, which led onto an Access course and then a teaching degree at Exeter University – in total a five year project!  Five years in which I sometimes felt out of my depth, and wondered who I was kidding to think I was capable of a degree; however, it was also five years in which I felt enlivened, excited and energised – I realised I did have a brain and that I loved delving into literature and its hidden meanings, and I also learned that I could “feel the fear but do it anyway” to paraphrase a well-known saying!

I am now in my 13th year of teaching – having gone from Mealtime Assistant to Assistant Head Teacher – and I can honestly say I never feel unfulfilled!

I believe that there are often unintended consequences of our actions – I think my children saw a good role model – and so did some of my friends – 3 of them have gone onto study at university – one to PHd level, after watching me and seeing anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

If you are remotely tempted to make a change, take a leap of faith, give it a go – what have you got to lose? …..Oh, and Good Luck!”


Lucy was working as a lawyer, and had a good job which she loved.  Following the birth of her daughter, she found that she was no longer as excited by and passionate about her job, and wanted to try something new.  She wanted to be able to work closer to home, term time only, and in a rewarding role.  She decided to retrain as a Classroom Assistant.  She started volunteering in the local primary school and enrolled on a course at her local college.  Now with a second baby, Lucy has completed her course and has just been offered her first job as a Classroom Assistant!

“I will earn a lot less money, but I’ll have more job satisfaction, and the pay-off is the holidays – I get to spend time with my family.  I am keeping up with my Legal Continuing Professional Development though, as it means I can always use my Legal skills.”

Sophie Duffy is an author from Devon who has had two books published: The Generation Game and This Holey Life.

“How did I start?  It was back in 2001.  We’d just moved from London to Worthing with our three kids, aged 2, 4 and 5.  I didn’t know anyone and my brain was going to mush so I decided to do an evening class.  I chose creative writing partly because I had done an English degree but mainly because it was on an evening when my husband was around to babysit.  After the first lesson, I was hooked.  I had a fantastic tutor and made some great friends.  I went on to do an MA in Creative Writing by distance learning at Lancaster University.

Eleven years on from that first evening class, my kids are 13, 16 and 17 – so look out for teenage angst in the next novel.  Now I just have to write it…”

To find out more about Sophie and her writing, see her website www.sophieduffy.com.  Sophie is also one of the authors behind Creative Writing Matters – offering support to other aspiring authors through workshops and mentoring.  See www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk to find out more.

Are you thinking about a career change?  Check out Opportunity Plus UK’s great range of courses.  Whether you already have the skills and ideas you need and just want a basic Business Start-up course, or you want to learn a brand new skill, Opportunity Plus UK have the course for you.  Visit www.opportunityplus.org.uk for a full course list.