Emma Henry from Rasharkin, who is in the second year of a Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care at the College’s Ballymena campus, is a tireless campaigner for the charity. In her new role as liaison officer for the local fundraising group for NI Hospice, she hopes to encourage more young people to get involved in their fundraising activities which have so far raised over £100,000.
She said: “I have been a member for the Ballymena NI Hospice Support Group for nearly three years now and it is a decision I have never regretted. It is amazing to see first-hand the important work of the hospice and the immeasurable impact it has on countless lives. It makes such a difference to sick children and their families and it is very rewarding to know you are helping in some way.”
Although she has never personally received support from the hospice herself, Emma is very well tuned into the service it provides.
“I know children who have benefitted from this amazing service. The hospice ensures that they are comfortable and have a good quality of life, while at the same time supporting their families and helping to relieve the fear and suffering associated with the loss of a loved one,” she said.
With fundraising for all charities being seriously curtailed by the pandemic, Emma said she is determined to continue fundraising to keep this vital service going. Emma has also set her sights on pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse.
After doing her A-Levels, Emma said she wasn’t ready for university and felt the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care at Northern Regional College was an ideal steppingstone for her.
“It has given me an opportunity to set practical experience and knowledge on topics such as anatomy and physiology, professional conduct and ethical practice, and public health. I would highly recommend the course to anyone considering a career in healthcare,” she said.
Emma is currently working as Nursing Assistant in the Northern Trust but hopes to study Adult Nursing at university, having applied to both Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. She said she found the Foundation Degree’s combination of theory and practice-based learning very beneficial.
Anne-Marie McAleese who coordinates the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care at the College’s Ballymena campus said Emma deserves great credit for her commitment to such a worthy cause. She said: “Emma had to balance her studies and her job as a nursing assistant with volunteering for the hospice which took a great deal of time management skills.
“I’m delighted that her dedication and hard work has paid off and she is now ready for the next stage of her journey. I know she will make a great nurse.”
Anne-Marie said Emma’s success served to highlight how the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care is an ideal pathway for anyone looking to pursue a career in the sector.