Learning organisations help penguins multiply for art trail

Date published: 6 December 2023

Judy Gibbs (Worcestershire County Council Director of Skills & Investment), Anna Lee, Nikki Stearman and Sophie Gething (Learning Services Worcestershire) stand with Spirit and Hoiho the penguin statues outside the Fairfield Centre.

Two county learning organisations have joined the growing ranks of sponsors supporting a penguin-themed art trail.

Adult Learning Worcestershire and Young Adult Learning Worcestershire, part of the County Council’s Learning Services department, have teamed up with national numeracy programme Multiply to sponsor an adult and baby sculpture for The Great Waddle of Worcester.

Set to arrive next July, the trail will see eighty beautifully decorated penguins parading through the city’s streets for eight weeks. A Wild in Art event, the waddle is being brought to Worcester by St Richard’s Hospice.

Anna Lee, Learning Services Worcestershire Manager, said it was an honour to be part of the trail: “Who doesn’t love a penguin! We recognise many of their traits in our own values – they work together, they look out for one another, they look after their community, they are sociable and resilient, and they are keen to learn. We offer hundreds of learners every year the opportunity to take up courses across the county, ranging from digital skills, vocational courses, traineeships, health and wellbeing courses, hair and beauty training, GCSE opportunities and numeracy courses. We also have courses for people to explore their creative side, just like the incredible artists whose works will grace Worcester city streets next summer.

“We’re proud to be able to support a great cause, and our learners will be helping us too as penguins will start to make appearances throughout some of our courses! 2024 marks Learning Services Worcestershire’s 15th anniversary – what better way to celebrate than by having penguins join our next chapter.”

Judy Gibbs, Worcestershire County Council’s Head of Skills and Investment, said: “Just as you’re never too old to enjoy a happy waddle of penguins, you’re never too old to continue your learning journey. Adult Learning Worcestershire and Young Adult Learning Worcestershire are here to help people across the county transform their lives and find pathways they never thought were open to them by learning new skills, such as numeracy. By teaming up with the UK Government initiative called Multiply we hope our sculptures will inspire trail-goers to explore the fun things you can do with numbers and how numeracy can elevate your everyday life.”

Multiply is free to anyone over the age of 19 that doesn’t have a GCSE at Grade C or equivalent. Short courses are available across the county, both in-person and online, designed to help people build everyday confidence with numbers.

Organisations from across Worcestershire and beyond have swooped in to sign-up and sponsor a penguin sculpture.

Artists, both local and national, are dreaming up designs to clothe each sculpture for submission by 8 January.  Penguin suits will be whittled down to around 100 at the beginning of 2024, with sponsors having the final say on which ones are brought to life.

At the end of the trail, each penguin will be auctioned to support the ongoing care provided by St Richard’s Hospice. Alongside the large penguins will be a mini parade of ‘nestlings’ decorated by schools and community groups across the county. The babies will be displayed in Crowngate Shopping Centre and other shop windows across the city.

Sara Matthews, Business Development Manager for St Richard’s Hospice, said: “It’s fantastic to see Learning Services Worcestershire and Multiply coming together to sponsor an adult and baby penguin.  As an event that’s all about bringing people together; it’s wonderful to see this from our supporters too.”

You can follow the great Waddle of Worcester on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The great Waddle of Worcester is supported by Presenting Partners; Crowngate, DRPG, Worcester City Council and Worcestershire Ambassadors, Community and Education Partner; Worcester BID and Media Partners; the Worcester News and BBC Hereford & Worcester.

Join the huddle

To discuss sponsorship opportunities, call Sara Matthews, Business Development Manager, on 01905 763963, or email [email protected].

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