A CHESTER woman who has used technology to help turn her life around has won a national award for her determination and achievements.
Vanessa Jones, 60, picked up one of just six UK online centres Outstanding Achievement Awards at a ceremony in London.
The award recognises people who have overcome difficulties to use computers and the internet to make real changes to their lives and in doing so have inspired those around them.
Two years ago, Vanessa’s world came crashing down when a business venture went horribly wrong and she ended up homeless and penniless.
Luckily, she found her way into the Harold Tomlins Centre, part of Chester Aid for the Homeless, who gave her the chance to rebuild her life.
She said: “At the worst point I was living in an old car with someone else and three dogs. I couldn’t wash, I couldn’t always eat properly and I couldn’t see a way out.
“I came across the Harold Tomlins Centre by chance.
“They told me what was on offer – everything from counselling services to beds for the night – but what I was really interested in was the suite of ICT facilities at their UK online centre.
“I had a means by which I could start to reconstruct my life.
“I completed a course to update my email skills, and the tutors showed me how to search for work and accommodation using myguide – a really easy-to-use website.
“I’ve now got a job, a place to live – I’ve even started looking at ways to salvage some of the business I lost. For the first time in ages, things are looking positive.”
Commenting on her award, Vanessa said: “I’m over the moon – I can’t quite believe it. It just makes me realise how far I’ve actually come.”
There were hundreds of nominations and Vanessa was singled out in recognition of her progress in using her new IT skills to change her lif. She received her award at The Globe Theatre from GMTV’s Andrea McLean, and the new Minister for Digital Inclusion Paul Murphy.