Back to learning at Sunshine House

On Monday 3rd August Sunshine House Community Centre in Wigan opened its doors for the first time since the pandemic hit, and the BFAWU Learning Services team were quick to bring back learning.

Sunshine House learners

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union team supports a weekly computer club at the community centre in Wigan to improve digital skills, mainly in older learners, so this was great news for the union and their learners.

To ensure a safe return there had been a lot of discussion and planning, by the management of Sunshine House, as to how Sunshine House would look under the new regulations and restrictions.

Project Worker John Fox said:

We were lucky to be given the opportunity to be one of the first clubs opening on that day. Knowing the Management we knew that they would have created a safe environment for its users.”

Getting their early learners and project workers were run through the procedures and the needs of the centre, from the Computer Club as a group.

John explained:

The learners had to book their place in the club so the room could handle the social distancing.”

On arrival everyone’s temperature was taken and hand sanitizer used. A Safety Pack consisting of a large clear bag for coats and handbags, a facemask, anti-bacterial wipe and a tissue, was given to all our learners.”

The Café at Sunshine House was also open, with a table service only for Tea and Coffee served by the centres Kitchen team.

John said:

It was very emotional as we welcomed back the learners, from before the lockdown. They had appreciated that Sunshine House had given them a safe haven to start their journey back to feeling some normality again.”

The learners that had come to the club tend to be older or retired and many had been ordered to isolate from the onset of the pandemic. Bringing them back together was beneficial for all sides they were glad to be able to see and talk to other people, as well get to work out the problems they had with different aspects of their PC’s.

The learners were very positive about getting back together. One learner, Mary Baybutt, said:

It’s good to be using the old brain again after lockdown and back with John and Lorraine and the team of learners in computer class enjoying the courses.”

Fellow learner Val Sullivan added:

We’ve two smashing tutors.  The problem solving continues, there is nothing they cannot solve and they are experts.  In view of my age, I’m 82, they are very patient and never made to feel stupid. I find the lessons are invaluable.”

Whilst another club member, Jack Daniels, said:

I’m glad I tried this course. The tutors very polite and courteous, and I would recommend this course to anyone. You can relax and feel welcome, just go and have a go.”

John is looking forward to future sessions and said:

We had a fantastic two hours helping learners get back online, and sort their problems out.”


Unionlearn has a lot of resources available to support older and mid-life learners. Go to the Mid-life development page for more details.