SSESW Student Wins £2,000 Healthcare Scholarship
School of SSESW student Amanda Shields wants to help launch a new service for vulnerable people, providing substance misuse and health care services under one roof. As part of her PhD in Social Work she is researching the relationship between homelessness and substance use in Northern Ireland and has won a £2,000 national scholarship that she will put towards this work. The £40,000 funding scheme was launched in September 2020 by national addiction freephone and online service Which Rehab, to help healthcare students struggling to pay for rising tuition and student living costs.
After qualifying in social work, Amanda worked as a programme manager for a project supporting people with addiction issues who were at risk of becoming homeless. She said: “I would love to use my scholarship to fund a second visit to the USA when it’s possible, to gather further information, so that I can bring practical ideas back to Northern Ireland and explore how we could set up a similar service here. Substance misuse is a significant public health issue in Northern Ireland and growing up in Belfast this was quite evident, both on the streets and within families. It is often difficult for people to access services due to waiting lists, or sometimes not having the motivation to attend. The approach I’m interested in introducing in Northern Ireland enables someone to get their methadone, access a nurse or doctor, get employment support and group therapy, all under one roof.”
Which Rehab created the scheme after receiving a record number of enquiries during the first lockdown, in a bid to encourage more people to pursue a career in addiction services. The scholarship will award two recipients £2,000 each year for 10 academic years and is open to undergraduate or postgraduate students studying addiction or any other relevant healthcare subject. More information can be found on the Which Rehab website.