Carolyn Keen, Chair of Governors of Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES), has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for ‘Services to Adult Education and the Community’. The recognition celebrates Carolyn’s voluntary work and her contribution to furthering the adult education agenda.
Carolyn’s professional background is in arts and disability policy with a special interest in education. She served as a Westminster Councillor chairing various committees, including education, health, arts, planning and the Westminster Faith Exchange.
A past Chair of The St Marylebone Society, she is currently a Trustee of The Philological Foundation, a small educational charity giving grants to students and schools in Westminster and Camden.
Arinola Edeh, Principal and Head of Service, Westminster Adult Education Service, said: “Carolyn has championed our work, which focuses on reaching and meeting the needs of those who are furthest away from the job market and require extensive wrap-around support to achieve their learning goals. She has steered the expansion of learning in deprived wards, particularly through using networks developed in her previous roles, such as her work with local voluntary organisations and as a former Lord Mayor of Westminster.”
Barbara Holm, Retired Principal and Head of Service, Westminster Adult Education Service, said, “Throughout the 12 years I worked with Carolyn, she worked tirelessly to support and serve the needs of both the Service and the students. She was a constant and forceful advocate of adult learning, gave unstintingly of her time, undertook hard fought battles and campaigned relentlessly to get things done and provide opportunities for the most disadvantaged to learn and develop.”
Carolyn’s passion for adult education was evident in her response on learning of the award: “Adult education cuts across every aspect of life. 2019 marked the centenary of the Ministry of Reconstruction’s Final Report on Adult Education, which highlighted that adult education provided the solution to the problems of disadvantage, disconnection and division in society. A hundred years later those aims still lie at the heart of what adult education seeks to achieve today. Services such as WAES support people who have unequal access to opportunities and engagement, helping them to learn new skills, form friendships and transform their lives.”
Carolyn also pointed out that she is receiving this award on behalf of the unsung heroes in the adult education field who have dedicated themselves to changing the lives of so many people. She praised the governors, staff and officials she has worked with over the years and stressed that the provision of local adult education opportunities must continue to develop and contribute to the economic, social and mental well-being of our community here in Westminster.