Former addict changes his life and wins award
A former cocaine addict who spent 35 years in and out of prison and living on the streets has been named the outstanding learner of the year by Niace, the adult learning body.
Frank Harris, 49, (right) who is studying for an national vocational qualification in supporting homeless and vulnerable people at City Lit in London, turned his life around in just four years.
He began studying in prison, gaining A-grade GCSEs and the confidence to pursue two counselling courses. On his release, he joined City Lit's Move project, which helped him to find work.
Mr Harris now works supporting people with addictions and the homeless. Last year he helped to set up the School of High Achievement in north London, which aims to boost the educational chances of Afro-Caribbean children.
He said: "No teacher ever turned to me to say, `What's really wrong with you, Frank? Why are you getting expelled? If you don't buck up, this is the only chance you've got at school.' I just want to say that to as many boys as possible."
Mr Harris is one of 12 individual and nine group winners of Niace accolades. Others include Barrie Hughes, who learned to read and write at the age of 58, and Kushti Bok, a group for Gypsies and Travellers that has helped more than 100 people gain qualifications.
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National Award Winners
Frank Harris, London
Danny West, south-east London
Maria Gough, Harlow, Essex
Reha Ali, north London
Ged Bretherton, Warrington
Barrie Hughes, West Sussex
The Graham Family, Lancashire
Gerildine Talbot, Leeds
Cath Mitchell, Newcastle upon Tyne
Darren Bailey, Lancaster
Voldis Kudliskis, Devon
Najib Rasooli, Sheffield
Group award winners
Jobjunction Employment Partnership at Birmingham airport
Streetlife Soccer, Norwich
Go Higher, Liverpool
In Touch Volunteers, Manchester
Practice Plan, Oswestry
Kushti Bok, Dorchester, Dorset
Marion Richardson Primary School, Tower Hamlets, east London
First Buses Learning Group
Tansley House Care Home, Matlock, Derbyshire.