Frank McCann from Coventry has been announced as the winner of Festival of Learning's Learning for Health Award 2018 for his exceptional achievement in adult learning.
This award celebrates adults who have transformed their own lives and the lives of their families, friends, their communities, and the places they work through learning.
Frank, aged 65, suffered a severe brain injury following a heart attack, leaving him unable to move or speak. He started adult education classes hoping to re-learn the skills he had lost.
Frank attended classes through Coventry’s Adult Education Service hoping that English and Maths classes would help him to regain more speech and improve his memory. As his confidence grew, Frank began a range of art classes to help improve his motor skills and develop his creative side.
Before his illness Frank had worked as a professional photographer and in 2012, he started relearning photography skills.
He currently attends classes in digital photography, landscape and night time photography, studio portraiture photography as well as classes in Photoshop and IT.
Frank has exhibited art work and photographs at the annual Coventry Adult Education Service’s summer art exhibitions and hopes to regain enough skills and memory to be a professional photographer again.
Frank speaks about the impact his learning has had: “My learning has made a huge difference to my life skills and continues to do so. Each small step I take moves me on a little more towards being the person I used to be.”
Susie Hutton, from the Visual & Performing Arts Curriculum Team at Coventry Adult Education Service said, “Frank has such an amazing story of recovery, against all odds. He’s determined to continually challenge his brain to re-learn, and improve his life skills.”
Councillor Kevin Maton, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, at Coventry City Council, added:
“It’s always great to hear about people like Frank who has made such great strides in re-learning skills and re-discovering his passion for life. The way Frank has benefited from the programmes he studied with the adult education service is great testament to the quality of the teaching and support he’s received.
“I’m sure there are many other people out in the community who can benefit from the support such programmes can offer.”
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said:
“Frank has clearly demonstrated that learning can play a key role in regaining lost skills and memories following traumatic injuries. We are pleased to be able to highlight the health benefits of learning in our new award category.”
"Festival of Learning is all about inspirational stories of people like Frank who show that anyone can benefit from learning. Lifelong learning is vital for all of us as jobs and society change around us. We encourage everyone to give learning a try, particularly in June when hundreds of free activities can be found on our Have a Go Month calendar. Further information on learning opportunities and support with the costs of courses is available through the National Careers Service, colleges and community learning providers.”