Julie Avery, a resident of the Riverside project has won the Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) Adult and Community Award after returning to learning with help from The Wallich.

She was presented with her accolade at an awards ceremony at the college on Dumballs Road and staff at CAVC’s The Friary Centre nominated Julie because of her positive approach to studying, achievements and determination to do well despite difficult personal circumstances.

At 14, Julie left school with no qualifications but has always wanted to return to further education and pursue her goal of becoming a Forensic Scientist. She has overcome anxiety and confidence issues thanks to self-dedication and support from The Wallich.

Julie first became resident of The Wallich in 2015 when she moved in to Sir Julian Hodge hostel, it was there she learnt about the Streets Ahead project that worked across Cardiff and The Vale to provide tailored support to vulnerable adults who had experienced homelessness.

She worked with mentor, Liz Watkins, who helped her access English and maths courses at The Friary Centre in 2015 and this year has been studying English, maths, social sciences and computing. Julie has also enrolled on a Foundation course to complete a Forensic Science degree.

Streets Ahead was a three-year project that gave participants the chance to improve their confidence, learn or refresh skills and build positive relationships and feel part of their communities.

“I’m really proud of myself”

Julie said, “I’m really honoured to receive this award and it means a lot to me. I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before. It’s taken me 48 years to get to where I am, it’s been a long journey, but I’m really proud of myself”.

Catherine Walsh, Deputy Head of Skills at CAVC said “Julie’s enthusiasm for learning is inspirational. She has been a role model to others. Her drive and determination to improve her skills have shone through. Julie embodies the benefits of lifelong learning.”

Liz Watkins, Learning and Development Co-ordinator, said “It has been a pleasure to mentor Julie and see her confidence build, try new experiences, and overcome perceptions of further learning as an adult. The Wallich are very proud to see Julie pursue her interests, develop her skills, gain related qualifications and now this award at the college. I believe that Julie will continue to fulfil her goals and through achieving this award will inspire others to fulfil theirs”