Regional awards for York learners who overcame maths fear

Two York residents who have overcome their fear of maths to enjoy their ‘first proper Christmas’ and improved mental health, have been named among the winners at the Multiply Celebration and Awards ceremony in York (March 20).

Multiply courses are designed to help overcome anxieties about maths by highlighting the hidden sums we do in everyday life, and support learners across York and North Yorkshire. The awards celebrate the progress that individuals have made to learn new skills, improve their wellbeing and, in many cases, move forwards in their lives.

This year’s Multiply award winners who have worked with York Learning, based at City of York Council, are Niamh Pitwood and Kian Gurney.

Niamh won the ‘Celebrating the Journey’ award. She has taken part in a series of Family Learning courses to help her support her young sons. These have included a Mixed Arts and Crafts course funded by Multiply, designed to highlight how much maths we use without realising. During the course, Niamh’s confidence in her abilities grew and her mental health improved. Since starting the course, she has secured a voluntary job at a charity shop – something she did not previously have the confidence to do – and is looking for new learning opportunities to help her move forward. Summing up their nomination for the award, Niamh’s York Learning tutors said: “We now see a young woman who sparkles and shines in her new-found confidence and positivity”.

Kian won the ‘Learner of the Year’ award for the York area. He moved back to York last year following a relationship breakdown and health issues. Funded by the Multiply project, Coterminous CIC was assigned to work with Kian and help him identify financial changes he could make to his life – such as prioritising essential expenses and making sure he pays his rent weekly. He secured a voluntary job at York’s Community Furniture Store, then paid work as a cleaner and in a retail business. Through learning to better manage his own finances, Kian saved enough to visit his young daughter, buy Christmas presents for his family and have what he described as ‘his first proper Christmas’.

Cllr Jo Coles, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Social Care at City of York Council, said: “Far too many people are put off maths, and yet it’s present in our lives every day in everything from shopping to cooking or home decorating. It’s great to hear about these awards and the impact of these achievements for Niamh and Kian – huge congratulations to them. Anyone who wants to follow in their footsteps should get in touch with the Multiply team at York Learning.”

To find out more about the Multiply project and courses that are currently available, visit, email: or call York Learning on 01905 554277.