Learning for Health

Marie Smith

2019 National Winner

Marie’s learning journey began when she was referred to Adult Education Wolverhampton’s Like Minds pottery course by her psychologist to help her to overcome severe depression.

“As a child I was sexually abused which had an impact on my life at school. I played truant and left school without qualifications. I didn’t want to be around people and I couldn’t leave the house. There were times where my depression stopped me from doing many daily activities – I wouldn’t wash, comb my hair or brush my teeth for weeks on end.

Once I started the Like Minds course I realised I didn’t want to live in my bedroom. I wanted to feel better and overcome the burden of my past. Starting to learn something that I love gave me a reason to get up in the morning and a reason to live.

Learning has transformed every part of my life. I am now studying for a degree in glass and ceramics at Wolverhampton University. I no longer need to take anti-depressants and have learnt many coping strategies in their place. My self-esteem has grown, and learning with others has given me a chance to build close friendships. I am now able to work, I have come off benefits and I can pay my own way through life. My future is bright. I know what I want in life and I know where my journey is taking me. Adult education has given me so much strength and determination. I can actually say education has saved my life.”

Sian Fletcher, curriculum manager at AEW, said “Marie’s learning journey has been a magnificent one, learning has truly transformed her life. She is a fantastic role model for others.”