COLLEGES are offering free courses in subjects ranging from flower arranging and cake decorating to Indian cooking to help people kickstart the new year with new skills.
Rotherham College and Dearne Valley College are putting on the community courses of five and ten weeks across their learning centres from this week.
There will also be a family history course, where students will explore things such as family names and record keeping, and beginners’ photography classes, covering key aspects of the skillset including lighting, technique, and exposure.
Both courses start this Thursday (January 9).
Many of the courses take place during the day Monday-Friday, but college group RNN said it was looking to respond to demand from the local community by increasing its evening courses.
Development worker Ella Wall, who arranges the courses, said: “For many who attend the community courses, it’s about more than simply learning a new skill.
“It’s about building confidence, helping with isolation, meeting new people and community integration and improving mental health.
“For many students, a community course is the start of something much bigger.
“A lot of people who do the card making or sugar craft course start making cakes for friends and family, and then go on to set up their own business.
“We find once a student has built up some confidence, they’ll go on to another course or an intermediate course.”
Former Rotherham College student Gill Lishman completed a Level One and Two Arts and Crafts course as part of her rehabilitation following major surgery for bone cancer, which caused loss of use in one arm, anxiety and depression.
“I loved it and met lovely people,” she said.
“I wanted to pass the positive effect on my mental health and being involved in a group on to others, so I later enrolled for a PGCE at Northern College.
“I graduated in May this year and I am now teaching within the community.
“I believe it’s not only advancing craft techniques, but alleviating social isolation and mental health issues, and bringing communities together.”
Visit facebook.com/CommunityCoursesSouthYorks to find about the courses on offer or call 01709 722792 for more information.