A kind-hearted Edge Hill University student has dedicated her spare time during the COVID-19 pandemic to fundraise for an African palliative care charity.
Harriet Diver, from County Derry in Northern Ireland, was awarded a University Scholarship from Edge Hill in recognition of her inspirational work for Hospice Africa, which supports terminally ill patients in Uganda, regardless of background with the rights to access palliative care.
According to Harriet, 21, the financial support of the scholarship has enabled her to continue volunteering for the charity after losing her job because of lockdown measures.
She said: “At the time, I didn’t have enough money to come back to University and support myself, so the scholarship really helped me out. It meant that I could not just survive and get by but actually live while I was at university.
“With that financial support behind me, it meant that I could continue to volunteer for Hospice Africa at a time when they need help the most. The pandemic and lockdown measures have massively impacted charities because of the closure of charity shops, which are usually a key source of income that they rely on.”
Harriet is in her final year studying Marketing with Advertising at Edge Hill and was awarded a scholarship alongside fellow students Bethany Draper and Abbie McHugh for the significant contribution they have made to Hospice Africa in collaboration with Edge Hill’s Raising and Giving (RAG) society.
She said: “It was a great feeling to have our achievements acknowledged by the University. Our work for Hospice Africa started out as a placement for all of us, but we’ve then chosen to continue volunteering after our placements finished because we enjoyed it so much.
“Hospice Africa does so much good to help provide compassionate end-of-life care to people and support them and their families through such a difficult time.”
Hospice Africa was launched in 1992 by Dr Anne Merriman MBE who was awarded an honorary doctorate by Edge Hill. Harriet was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Uganda to work on the frontline with Dr Merriman in 2020 but was forced to put the plans on hold when lockdown hit.
Despite this setback, Harriet is still committed to try to make these plans a reality beyond her time at Edge Hill.
She added: “I’ve always enjoyed giving back to others. It’s good to feel that you are contributing something positive and are doing something productive with your time. Hospice Africa has been such a fantastic charity to do that with, it’s been such a positive experience and I would recommend it to anyone.”