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Hello, I'm Kerry and I am currently working towards becoming a counsellor. Last week I accepted an Unconditional offer from the University of Edinburgh to study a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling.
This is a BIG deal for me for a number of reasons, one of those reasons is that I received an Unconditional Offer (and very happily accepted it) onto a Postgraduate course despite not holding an Undergraduate Degree. I feel that those of you reading this who don't know me personally don't need to hear my entire life story to understand how dedicated and passionate I am about my future as a counsellor. What I am going to share with you is what I have been doing over the past few years that lead me to receive my offer from The University of Edinburgh, and my plans once I become a fully trained counsellor.
Positive Change Arts Projects - During a very difficult period of my life in 2011 I set up Positive Change Arts Projects, a series of creative projects based on my own experiences of finding new, healthy coping strategies to manage feelings of distress during my recovery from a sexual assault and homelessness. I developed a project called 'I am…', the idea behind this was to give people a safe creative space in which they could work towards self empowerment by exploring and expressing who they are, moving away from clinical terminology. This became popular within the LGBTQ+ community and I started to facilitate 'I am…' in a way people also felt safe to explore their sexuality and gender identity.
Chance UK - After successfully completing the Chance UK solution focused training I started a one year mentoring relationship with a child experiencing behavioural difficulties, we are currently entering the ending stage of this relationship. This role has involved planning and organising weekly mentoring sessions that encourage and support my mentee in their participation in health and well-being activities such as art and swimming, ultimately working towards improving their ability to focus and concentrate during their school classes.
Crisis at Christmas - For the past four years I have volunteered at a Crisis at Christmas homeless shelter throughout Christmas week. 2015 was my first year volunteering as a befriender, this involved spending time one to one with any guest who might have been experiencing feelings of distress or loneliness. I spent time listening to the guests and signposting them to services that might be able to help them with specific concerns, and/or on a longer term basis.
Mind - I am a Mind media representative. Over the past three years this has involved being interviewed about my experiences within the mental health care system for both local and national radio and television.
During the past year I have successfully undertaken the CPCAB Level 2 Counselling Skills and Level 3 Counselling Studies courses.
In the future I hope to continue to work with the LGBTQ+ community as a counsellor to those who have experienced hate crime as a response to their perceived identity. I also aim to continue with Positive Change Arts Projects, working in a way that will combine the knowledge and experience I have gained from taking the CPCAB Level 2, Counselling Skills and Level 3, Counselling Studies courses, and my ongoing development both personally and professionally.
A little further into the future I plan to become a foster carer of older children (8+) as they are unfortunately deemed the hardest to find secure placements for. Using all of the knowledge and experience gained in life and educationally, I hope to be able to guide young people into a stable and healthy adulthood.
I am trying to raise the minimum needed in order to be able to pay my deposit for the course which is due before the start of the Diploma on September 12th.
I learnt this week I am not eligible for a loan from the Student Loans Company because I am not studying a Master's Degree, and Advance Learner Loans are not available to those studying outside of England. The Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling (frustratingly) is not on the list of qualifications eligible for a loan, grant or bursary from the Student Awards Agency For Scotland either. What a pickle!
Here is the full course cost breakdown:
1 - £3800 (Deposit of £2000 to be deducted from the £3800)
Year 2 - £6460
Year 3 - £6460
If you wish to support my crowdfunder there are a number of ways you can do so and it doesn't have to be financially. You can support it, and me by sharing and talking about it on social media.
No matter what, if you have got this far – I am grateful to you for taking the time to read all the way to the end!
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A HUGE thank you to those of you who over the past five days have supported my crowd-funder by way of sponsorship and sharing links on social media. I found myself quite overwhelmed with the lovely messages on this page and those floating around on facebook, they certainly made me feel less self-conscious about setting this up (it feels a bit weird to ask people for money!).
I realise I made a mistake with the listed rewards, I failed to mention that higher tier rewards will also include the rewards from the lowers tiers, my apologies. Unfortunately I cannot change the details on the page now the crowd-funder is live.
Hopefully, technology allowing, below you should see a photograph of one of the London Eye images included in the set of four glossy postcards.
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3 anonymous donations totalling £105.00