Rugby man overcame homelessness, poverty and trauma to win prestigious award as he studies to become a counsellor

A former Rugby College student who completed his Access to Higher Education diploma while being homeless for months has received a prestigious award for outstanding commitment to his studies.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 5:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 3:57 pm
Photo: From left - Lesley Turner, former access tutor at WCG, Jack Farr, Fiona Fisk, CAVA chair.

Jack Farr was determined to complete his Access to Higher Education in Social Sciences at Rugby College, part of Warwickshire College Group (WCG).

This was despite going through several traumatic experiences - including mourning the recent death of his sister, a painful divorce and losing contact with his children.

At one point Jack had no money to pay for food or transport to college and was depending Hope 4.

But, against all odds, he passed all of his exams.

After graduating from Rugby College, Jack was accepted to Northampton University where he is currently studying for a degree in psychology and counselling.

His remarkable story of strength in adversity has now been recognised with the national Keith Fletcher Award for ‘Outstanding Commitment to Study’ capping off an incredible year.

Jack said: “This year has been one of the most challenging but fulfilling years of my life.

“It’s been a long journey, and there have been some very dark times, but I am very grateful for the support from people close to me.

“I can’t speak highly enough of my teachers at Rugby College and the support that they gave me during my course.

"They gave me constant encouragement and did everything they could to allow me to complete my studies.

“My mum has also been inspirational over the last year.

"No matter how tired or broken I felt, she convinced me to stick with my studies.

"She also did an Access to Higher Education course and told me how important it had been for her.”

Jack decided to pursue access to higher learning education following the death of his sister.

His mental health suffered as a result of the family tragedy and this forced him to take time off work.

“I wasn’t in a good place after my sister’s death but it also put a lot of things into perspective,” said Jack.

“I had always wanted to be a counsellor but I didn’t get the grades in school.

"I was working in retail at the time and I didn’t really get the support that I needed from my employer after my sister died.

“One day I just decided that life is too short - I quit my job on the spot and walked straight over to the college to see what they could offer me.

"Luckily for me the timing was perfect: I enrolled there and then and by the following month I was in the classroom.”

After winning the regional CAVA Access to Higher Education Award, Jack was put forward for the Keith Fletcher Award for ‘Outstanding Commitment to Study’.

The national recognition has rounded off a remarkable 18 months for Jack, who will attend a distinguished ceremony at the Houses of Parliament in the spring to collect his accolade.

James Stacey, head of Department Academic Studies, Applied Science and Access to HE, WCG, said: “Jack’s is a remarkable story and all of us at WCG are so proud of everything he has achieved.

“Jack has shown a tremendous amount of resilience during what has been a very challenging time and his university place was testament to all of his hard work.

“There is no one more deserving of the Keith Fletcher Award for ‘Outstanding Commitment to Study’ than Jack.

"He is an inspirational person and we are thrilled his determination and perseverance has been recognised.”

For more information on access to higher learning courses at WCG, visit