Award winning Birmingham project helps thousands

My Time CIC, a social enterprise owned by service users in inner city Birmingham, has helped thousands of people overcome mental health issues by offering a variety of learning opportunities.


MyTime CIC

Learners at My Time CIC taking part in a therapeutic gardening session in Small Heath. Photo: Caters Photographic

The project’s dedication to improving people’s lives through learning is being recognised with a Learning for Health Project Award as part of Adult Learners’ Week 18 – 24 May 2013.

Established in 2002, My Time provides psychosocial educational programmes and services for people experiencing depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and mental health issues.

The majority of My Time service users are Black Asian Minority Ethnic – many with long term mental health issues – originating from war zones and countries with violent conflict. My Time works in 22 languages and offers women’s and men’s learning days with a wide range of formal and informal learning – often the first step towards further learning for those with little or no previous education. Learning and volunteering is a key part of the therapeutic process.

Since 2002 My Time has welcomed more than 8000 people, of whom more than 500 have progressed to higher education and more than 4000 to further education. Amra was a Bosnian refugee who was encouraged by My Time to develop her interest in psychology. She gained a Masters degree in Forensic Psychology, secured employment, is now Managing Director of My Time and has helped grow the project by 27% in the last year alone.

My Time’s Chief Executive Michael Lilley said: “It is planned that My Time will launch 15 My Times across the UK, with a planned income of £3million in three years, employing over 200 people.”

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “The achievements of this year’s NIACE Adult Learners’ Week winners are inspirational. Each winner demonstrates the life changing benefits education offers.

“To make it easy for anyone wanting to re-train, or to choose a new course of study, the National Careers Service is on hand and in its first year has advised 800,000 people on what options are open to them.”

David Hughes NIACE Chief Executive said: “Each and every year during Adult Learners’ Week we are reminded, by all the award winners’ stories, just how much people can improve their lives through learning. It helps them become more involved in their communities and often gives them a brighter future to look forward to. I hope the dedication, enthusiasm and vision that My Time has used to give people the opportunity to progress in life through learning will inspire other projects and employers to see the positive impact learning can have on people and communities.”