THE achievements of people who have overcome a troubled past were celebrated in an awards ceremony.

The  Neighbourhood Learning in Deprived Communities Project is run by the Skills Funding Agency, Bolton Council and Bolton College to work with people battling issues such as substance abuse and mental health difficulties, as well as ex-offenders homeless people.

More than 680 people, many of whom have low confidence, low skills and other needs, are given support and help finding jobs or more education.

Sue Schofield, head of community learning at Bolton College, said: “The scheme has been running for 11 years now, supporting our community and the voluntary sector.

“I’m thrilled to see the scheme go from strength to strength each year, as all of the learners gain valuable experience that helps them to reach their full potential.

"I look forward to another promising year of learning in the community.”

The programmes are run by Back on Track, Community Care Options, The Deane Education Project, Lakamka, Bolton Magistrates, Farnworth Baptist Church and Wellfield.

Bolton Council’s cabinet member for development and regeneration, Cllr Akhtar Zaman, said: “I’d like to congratulate everyone who has been on the programme.

"We’re pleased to support this scheme as it equips individuals, in hard to reach areas, with the skills and support they need to go on to accredited learning or employment.”

One of the successful participants was 49-year-old Bolton resident Michael Shaw, who gained so much from the project that his achievements were celebrated at Bolton College’s Adult and Community Awards last month.

Mr Shaw said: “To get my certificate in DIY meant everything, and I anticipate my AQA awards.”