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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

NRC student appointed Youth/Schools Liaison Officer for Ballymena Hospice Support Group

A Northern Regional College student has been appointed Youth/Schools Liaison Officer for the Ballymena Hospice Support Group, a local fundraising group for NI Hospice.

Emma Henry (20) 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 charity and the Ballymena group has raised over £100,000.

In her new role as Liaison Officer, she hopes to encourage more young people to get involved in their fundraising activities.

“I have been a member of 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 at first hand the important work of the hospice and how this can impact on countless lives. It makes such difference to sick children and their families and it is very rewarding to know that you are helping in some way,” she said.

Although she has never personally received support from the hospice herself, Emma is very well-tuned into the service it provides.

“I know children that have benefited 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, helping to relieve fear and suffering associated with the loss of a loved one.”

With fundraising for all charities was been seriously curtained by the pandemic, Emma said she is determined to continue fundraising to keep this vital service going. She is also even more determined than ever to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.

“Volunteering with the hospice helped confirm my decision that a career in nursing is the one for me,” she continued.

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 stepping stone for her.

“It has given me an opportunity to get valuable practical experience and knowledge on topics like Anatomy and Physiology, Professional Conduct and Ethical Practice and Public Health. I would highly recommend this course to anyone considering a career in healthcare.”

Emma, who works as a Nursing Assistant in the Northern Trust, hopes to study Adult Nursing at university and has applied to both Queen’s University and Ulster University. She said she found the Foundation Degree’s combination of a theory and practice very beneficial.

“Throughout the course we did presentations, both individually and in groups, which helped my communication skills. Communication is at the heart of healthcare, so it is vitally important to be a good communicator.”

Anne-Marie McAleese, who co-ordinates the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care at the Ballymena campus, said Emma deserves great credit for her commitment to such a worthy cause.

“Emma had to balance her studies and job as a nursing assistant with volunteering for the hospice which took great 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 to become a nurse and I know Emma 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 health and social care sector.

“It will equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to meet the evolving needs of health and social Care services in Northern Ireland and beyond. As a College, we have developed strong working relationships with key partners in the health and social care services sector which helps inform how the course is delivered.”


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