Bright new future for dad and daughter

A FATHER and daughter have inspired each other to new beginnings – overcoming dyslexia, addiction and lack of qualifications to make a fresh start in life.

Lizie Bird left school as an undiagnosed dyslexic at 16, with a single GCSE in art to her name.

And dad Jamie quit school at 13, before enduring a 20-year battle with drink and drug addictions.

But both have now returned to the classroom at Weston College, with Lizie then moving on to university on her path to a career in social work, and Jamie now following in her footsteps through the college’s Access to Higher Education programme.

The course is designed to help people with limited qualifications into university – with both Jamie and Lizie testifying to its power to transform lives.

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Lizie, aged 20, said: “Weston College recognised my dyslexia and I was able to get the additional support I needed.

“I didn’t really know my dad until I was 16 when he came to live with me at my Nan’s but watching what he went through and how he has changed inspired me.

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“I already work part-time as a community support worker for the elderly and disabled and can’t wait to get qualified as a social worker.”

And Jamie added: “At 13 I truanted from school for two years and felt nobody could teach me.

“I worked in building and construction, involved in multi-million pound projects but alongside this success was a growing addiction to alcohol and drugs.

“In the last five these took a complete hold but I was lucky and went to Broadway Lodge treatment centre in Weston.

“I saw how much Lizie enjoyed college and once I’d sorted myself out decided to give it a go with her encouragement.

“I’ve been given a second chance thanks to Lizie and the support on offer at Weston College.

“I wasn’t there for Lizie growing up but education has brought us close and we have a wonderful relationship now.”

For more information on Weston College’s Access to Higher Education programme, call 01934 411411 or go to

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