THREE mums who have all battled adversity have turned their lives round a won a national award for their efforts to gain new qualifications.
Lisa Harrington, 32, Tammy Spriggs, 27 and Janine Morrison who are all from Pitsea have completed a range of courses from GCSE maths and English and teaching assistant courses to belly dancing and reading with your child at Briscoe Primary School where their children all go to school.
As a group they all went up to the Houses of Parliament and were given the Learner Group of the Year award because of their joint dedication to improving their lives and prospects.
The courses are put on by charity the Basildon Education Services Trust and it was the charity and the Workers Education Association that nominated the ladies for their efforts over the last three years.
Kelly Herring, is a learning support mentor at the Felmores End school, and she said the ladies have all worked extremely hard and deserved the award.
Lisa, who lives in Moretons Court, and has two daughters at Briscoe said she was going for her first job interview off the back of the courses.
She said: “I left home at 15 and heavily got into drugs, I was a heroin addict for years and was also homeless. It took me a good six years to get myself sorted out, I got into a relationship when i was really young and left school with no qualifications.
“After I had got clean I fell pregnant with my first daughter and any hopes of an education were put on hold. It was only when they started at Briscoe and I found about these courses that life really improved.
“Having my children was the best thing I have ever done and that has led to these improvements in my education and confidence.
“All the skills I have learnt have helped me with my confidence and I have had my first job interview as a result of the courses.”
Tammy, of Ashfields, Pitsea has three children at Briscoe and said the courses had turned her life round.
She said: “I had a really difficult childhood and ended up in care and my family was split up, I got pregnant at 15 and my baby was adopted and I left school without any qualifications.
“When I heard about these courses I was very timid and didn’t have any confidence, but they have turned my life around and I have learnt so much.
“Winning the award has been amazing and I have made so many great friends through the courses. We were invited to the Houses of Parliament to get the award which was brilliant.”
Debbie Boukiss, a spokesman for BEST, said: “We run between 25 and 30 courses across Basildon schools with the WEA and they are available to any parent that has at least one child in a Basildon school.
“Tammy, Lisa and Janine have attended various courses over the last 3 years with BEST and have worked hard to not only gain key skills in literacy and numeracy but to extend their learning so they are much more equipped to support their children’s learning too.
“They have also been very proactive in supporting Briscoe school not only as parent volunteers but also by setting up a friends of Briscoe group to support school events.
“All three were nominated for the award as both the WEA and BEST felt they had worked hard and supported each other to other come all the barriers they had previously built up around learning.”