Winter Learning

We all know 1st January is the time to finally learn that new skill or take up a new hobby. But really, why wait? There's a whole range of things to throw yourself into while the days are getting shorter and we all spend more time indoors. Here are some ideas for the rest of winter and beyond!


  1. Winter Quotes

  2. Learning Story of the Month

    meet Nicky!

  3. Learning a new skill as an adult can be very difficult and involve overcoming huge barriers.
  4. I never learnt to swim as a child even though my primary school provided lessons from age seven at the local pool. Quite early on in the process the whole class were standing along the edge of the pool at the shallow end awaiting instructions. Suddenly one of the boys decided to push first my friend and then me into the water. We both went straight under and had to be rescued crying and screaming by life guards. The boy thought this was very funny. However, it had a huge effect on me and despite having swimming lessons throughout my school career, I was never able to let myself go as there was now a psychological barrier.
  5. I was determined that my own children would learn to swim and they were able to from a young age. I love the sea and all of our holidays were by the seaside and I would happily go into the sea within my depth and could watch the waves for ages. Over the years on holiday, various family members would try to teach me but all to no avail. What people who can swim don’t appreciate is the great fear that is ingrained following the experience I had as a child.
  6. The turning point came 18 months ago. I had been taking my three eldest grandchildren to swimming lessons and from the viewing platform I watched with interest as they were taught all of the correct moves and looked at the steps to being able to swim. My granddaughter was like a fish in water and is a joy to watch. She has just achieved her 1000 metres and is a real inspiration to me. As well as the lessons they needed to practice, so I started taking them at the weekend and bought myself a kickboard. I soon realised I was missing out on the fun.
  7. In June 2015, at the age of 57, I made the brave decision to phone Horfield Leisure Centre and ask to sign up for adult swimming lessons. I felt slightly embarrassed, but there was no need as the lady who spoke to me was lovely, very encouraging and within a couple of weeks I was booked onto the Wednesday evening lessons. I bought a new swimming costume and goggles and they gave me a free hat!
  8. The first lesson was spent holding on near the edge of the pool learning how to move into a floating position and how to stand up. This was actually the most important thing to learn as being able to stand up in any situation is a necessity, which was quickly brought home to me when a few weeks later a new person collided with me. The fear is always ready to surface, so the first few weeks weren’t easy. I started going to practice with my daughter each week and my grandchildren were great at encouraging me. I also found going to Aquafit really helped with my water confidence.
  9. To read Nicky's entire Learning Story, please visit our dedicated Storify page:
  10. Computer Reuse Scheme − the perfect Christmas gift!

  11. Byteback Computer Reuse is a citywide project to make low cost refurbished computers and laptops available to individuals and families who are on a low incomes or who experience other disadvantages.
  12. With the help of Bristol City Council, Byteback IT Solutions, local business and residents, refurbished computers are available to eligible applicants from as little as £50.00 and laptops from as little as £99.00 - including a 6 month warranty, with telephone support and advice.