Jade Ainsworth, a care leaver who has used her experiences to help others, has been awarded an Excellence Scholarship from Edge Hill University.
Jade, from Barrow-in-Furness, found herself in care at 16 and her life changed massively. She started living day to day, her confidence dwindled, and her dreams and aspirations became uncertain.
Using her own experiences of the care and mental health systems, the mental health nursing student said: “I started to help others. Whilst in care, I often felt my own voice was unheard, so volunteered with Healthwatch Cumbria, becoming the patients’ voice in hospital and care settings.”
“I applied for a scholarship after I saw a leaflet in halls. I imagined what it would feel like to be recognised for helping others, but didn’t think I would be successful. When I was told the news, I felt like I’d been acknowledged for everything I’d been through: I felt seen.”
“It’s nice to know that I was awarded a scholarship not only for my volunteering work, but because I never gave up in the face of adversity, through determination and my passion to be a nurse.”
Jade’s work in improving and integrating the mental health provision for children and young people at schools in South Cumbria led to a nomination for a Love Barrow Award.
Jade added: “I also volunteered with Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioners, to represent young people’s voice and share their experiences on police procedures. I discovered that training and better mental health knowledge was needed within crime prevention. I presented the findings to police and policing commissioners and, as a result, several policies were amended.”
Finishing her diploma in humanities and social sciences with distinctions, Jade finally had the confidence to apply to university.
Jade commented: “Applying to university was a big step for me. I’d moved around in care so much that I didn’t know if I’d fit in or have a sense of belonging.
“I struggled at first with living in halls, as it was another move for me, but I soon realised that everyone was in the same boat and working towards the same goal. Everyone is so supportive, the cleaners in halls were a regular friendly face and the lecturers are amazing.”
Jade is taking online lessons in Swahili as she plans to use her scholarship to fund her formative placement to Tanzania in Africa next summer, supporting young people in hospitals. Jade wants to learn practices abroad and hopes it will increase employment opportunities.
Edge Hill University offers a range of scholarships for applicants and current students to celebrate determination, commitment and achievement in a variety of areas, from rewarding academic excellence, overcoming adversity, and helping and inspiring others. Learn more about the range of scholarships the University by visiting www.edgehill.ac.uk/scholarships/.
Alongside one of the most impressive and innovative scholarship packages in the higher education sector, the University operates the Student Opportunity Fund to help students take part in career enhancing opportunities. Find out more here www.edgehill.ac.uk/scholarships/student-opportunity-fund.
To discover more about courses at Edge Hill University, please visit ehu.ac.uk/study.
November 10, 2022