Outstanding Individual Award

Geraldine Crimmins

2016 National Winner

Twenty years ago, Geraldine suffered a breakdown that led her to lose her house and two businesses and become addicted to drugs. After becoming homeless and suffering a violent attack that temporarily left her in a wheelchair, Geraldine felt her life had fallen apart.

However, Geraldine turned her life around and got back into learning. After enrolling on an art course at Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES) she felt she could start re-building her life. By enabling her to paint, the service gave her a fantastic tool that helps her cope with continued health problems and, in 2015, she won WAES Student of the year.

Her love of art has seen her networking with the wider art community and eventually attending courses at Hampstead School of Art. After selling some paintings at an exhibition, Geraldine realised others appreciated her work enough to buy it and decided to help others use art to explore their creativity.

Taking her first-hand experience of homelessness, she spent Christmas volunteering for charity CRISIS, helping at Café Art which provides a platform for homeless artists. Her new-found confidence helps her continue to develop her skills, rekindle strained relationships with friends and family and develop professional discipline. Her deep interest in helping others means that she continually inspires other students with techniques and skills she has learned and promotes their work in her wide networks.

Geraldine said: I am building a network of fellow artists to build a creative learning community. The overwhelming result of studying is that it has given my life a renewed meaning and purpose.”