Gareth’s award!


Plymouth social worker wins top award at national awards ceremony.   Gareth Benjamin, who works at Livewell Southwest, was named winner of the Mental Health Social Worker of the Year award at the national event which took place on Friday 24 November 2017 in London.

The judges commended Gareth on his personal approach and praised him for his strong commitment to human rights, his drive to challenge the disadvantages faced by mental health service users and his enthusiasm for learning

Gareth is an ALS student who has just successfully completed his PG Diploma Advanced Mental Health Practise at Bournemouth University.

Many congratulations Gareth!





Celebrating Paul Whittington


We have very many students in ALS who, with the help of specialist staff, overcome what others might perceive as barriers to learning and attain great success. In this posting, we celebrate the tremendous achievements of Paul Whittington using his own words and those of his mentor, Jane Merrington.

Towards the end of summer, having been awarded a first class honours degree, BSc Computing, Paul wrote to his ALS tutor, Steevie Watson, with this news: “I thought that you may also like to know that I have been chosen by the Dean of the School of Design, Engineering and Computing at Bournemouth University to receive not one, but two prizes! The first prize is the School Prize for the best undergraduate student in the School of Design, Engineering and Computing. The second prize is for the best final year student in software/communications and this is sponsored by Selex Elsag. The Selex Prize for my ‘overall excellence in my performance and project combined’, but more heavily focused on my final year project. I will be awarded the prizes at my graduation in November at the BIC. It will be great day!”

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Official recognition of ALS tutors

From left to right, Sue, Carole, Amanda and Steevie. Along with their colleague Sarah, these tutors recently attended the Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Awards event where they formed part of the category of ‘staff who have achieved qualifications relevant to their role’.

As well as continuing with their usual roles of supporting ALS students, our colleagues  in the photo succeeded in attaining their Level 4 Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector. As if that wasn’t sufficient grounds for recognition, they managed to complete this in four months…an undertaking which generally takes 18 months.

Sarah, meanwhile, gained her Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Southampton, again whilst continuing with her normal tutoring role at work.

You can correctly assume that these ladies already possessed a variety of accolades. Folk may not always be aware that staff in ALS rank amonst the most qualified and experienced. Well done everyone!