'A computer course changed my life' 

Lynda Sullivan, 51, of Ely, Cardiff, won the Active Learning for Health and Wellbeing Award in the Inspire! Adult Learner Awards 2013 – after one computer course helped her successfully campaign to save local playing fields and set up youth football teams on the ground. 

“I suffered with depression, panic attacks and anxiety attacks. For three years I barely left the house. When a booklet came through my door advertising adult learning courses I remember reading it, crying, thinking ‘I could never do any of them, I can’t even leave the house’.”

But two months later Lynda’s determination to combat her illness made her leave the house and walk to nearby Michaelston Neighbourhood Learning Centre.

She says: “I was shaking so much I could barely talk to the staff. But they made me feel welcome. I told them about my illness and they were very understanding. I signed up for Computers for Beginners. The first day of the course I was so nervous and starting to get anxious. But the tutor was understanding and encouraged me throughout.”

When Cardiff Council said they were to build on local playing fields, Lynda put her computer skills to good use. “I emailed people, got a petition going and wrote many letters using my computer to check for spelling mistakes. After two long years we won our fight to save our field.

“We then formed Ely Garden Villagers and became active within the community. I set up football teams on the ground and there are now nine teams for eight to 18-year-olds. Each month fixtures are sent to me and with the computer skills I learnt at the Adult Learning Centre I put them on the elygardenvillagers.co.uk website which also features local issues.” 

Lynda adds: "Going on that computer course changed my life. It wasn’t just the skills I gained but the confidence boost it gave me.

“It gave me the confidence to find work – I’m now a support worker in a local care home. I’ve gone on to do more courses too, including a diploma in social care. 

“My advice to people thinking about careers and learning is just to get up and go for it. It changed my life for the better.

“I’d recommend anyone who needs careers help contacts Skills Gateway for Adults.”

Lynda is just one of thousands of people who have been helped by programmes available through the Skills Gateway for Adults service since its launch in January 2015.

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