WITH deaf and blind parents and a severely brain damaged daughter, the Hall family do not seem likely candidates for an IT skills award.

But the family from Swindon have won a national award for their dedication and commitment to learning the new skill, each of them overcoming major obstacles.

Mum Barbara has very limited vision and is partially deaf and her husband Ken is also blind with mobility problems.

Their daughter Alison has had severe brain damage since birth and her parents are her constant carers.

Despite all their difficulties, the family have been given the National Family Learning Award as part of Adult Learners’ Week held in May.

Since taking the course and buying a laptop computer with an electronic voice, Barbara says her life has changed significantly.

She said: “I can now use a computer with confidence to write letters, emails, shopping lists and surf the internet.

“Alison started with simple exercises colouring in web outlines and progressed rapidly through more challenging educational tasks.

She is showing improved hand-eye co-ordination, greater use of language and requires less supervision.”

Ken took his wife’s lead and both are on an National Open College Network accredited course in word processing.

Sue Mead, their nominator and IT tutor, said: “Learning has made a big difference to their lives.

“Barbara now uses the computer at home for many different applications – she has made terrific progress.”

Rachel Thomson, the senior campaigns officer at the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, said: “The incredible stories of all our Adult Learners’ Week award winners show just what can be achieved in life through determination, imagination and ambition.

“The Hall family, like all of this year’s award winners, is proof of how learning can absolutely transform lives, often leading to new jobs and careers; and helping people to cope, or overcome, the many challenges they face.

“Hopefully, millions of adults across the country will be inspired by the Hall Family’s story to take up learning and discover for themselves a whole new raft of opportunities.”

For more information log on to www.niace.org.uk.