Midlothian parents become first graduates

Pictured from left to right, are: Anne Hoffman, Samantha Turnbull, Hannah Jones, Kerry Hamilton, Abbi Waddell, Helen Weekes, Nicola Thomson, Dr Grace Vickers and Lorne McCall.
Pictured from left to right, are: Anne Hoffman, Samantha Turnbull, Hannah Jones, Kerry Hamilton, Abbi Waddell, Helen Weekes, Nicola Thomson, Dr Grace Vickers and Lorne McCall.

Midlothian parents became the first graduates in Scotland to complete a recognised qualification in becoming a tenant and keeping that tenancy.

Four young parents, Hannah Jones, Samantha Turnbull, Kerry Hamilton and Abbi Waddell, were honoured at a special ceremony in Dalkeith Arts Centre after gaining their SQA 4 Tenancy and Citizenship Award.

Hannah Jones, who has a two-year-old son Freddie, said the course was really helpful and equipped her with new skills that she was already using. She added: “It covered everything from how to look after your property to what to do about antisocial neighbours. There was lots of practical advice like how to organise your money so I definitely think I’m now budgeting better.”

Samantha Turnbull, who has a son Riley (2), said she did the course to “learn something new” while Abbi agreed with Kerry that it was “one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Stephen Curran (Lab) said: “This is a real achievement for our graduates and also for our homelessness team for delivering this forward thinking learning opportunity. It can be a challenge for people, especially if you have a lot to juggle in your life like a young family, to know things like how to apply for affordable housing and what your rights and responsibilities are as a tenant.

“It sounds as though the parents have learned a lot of good, solid practical advice that will give them the confidence and skills to keep a roof over their family’s heads for years to come.”

Midlothian Council’s chief executive Dr Grace Vickers presented the four parents with their qualifications at the event attended by homelessness officers Helen Weekes and Nicola Thomson, who both delivered the course, and Anne Hoffman and Lorne McCall. Anne helped support the students during the course with their homework etc while Lorne supported Nicola and Helen throughout the course as the lead SQA accreditation worker for Midlothian council.