Since leaving school, I completed a degree in Psychology at Heriot Watt University and specialised in Animal Assisted Intervention. In my final year of study, I was also published on “Research the Headlines” where my paper on alcohol and cognitive decline is still available to read. This is also when I completed an extremely successful dissertation, “Experience of At-Risk Youth Participating in Equine Therapy” which was also selected for a flash presentation by the International Society for Anthrozoology Conference 2020 (a society that focuses on human-animal relationships).
After completing my degree, I have had a range of jobs within the education and care sector. This began as a pupil support assistant where I worked within a secondary school in Edinburgh assisting anyone who needed any additional support throughout their studies. I loved this job and had a great relationship with the young people I supported – so much so that when I left, they all threatened to move schools with me! From there I went on to be an advanced pupil support worker, working with young people who had a diagnosis of autism. In this role I focused more on mindfulness sessions and emotional regulation, as well as getting young people out in the community.
From there I went on to work with extremely high risked young people in residential care before joining withYOU.
When I am not working with, with YOU, I spend my time with my array of animals. I have a working cocker spaniel puppy who is the latest addition to my household, a cat, and two guinea pigs. On my days off, I will be at my stables working with my three rescue ponies. Basil, is my Shetland cross who was rehomed from Redwings Rescue in Aberdeen 14 years ago and is now in his thirties, Nini (full name is Declan’s Cheese Panini – but I think this is animal cruelty) is my cob, who myself and my business partners rescued from a riding school where she was just left to fend for herself, and my newest addition is Kismet a fell cross, whose previous owner unfortunately couldn’t care of her anymore. All my ponies are classed as ‘therapy animals’ and work with a range of people with different needs. My puppy, Brody will be trained up as well as a therapy dog when he has matured a little.
Working with withYOU has been amazing so far, and my favourite part is getting out and meeting and working with the people we support.
I really enjoy the social aspect and that the job never has two days the same! I feel I have been very fortunate getting to work in both our adult and young people’s services, so I have had the chance to meet and work with a whole range of people who require different kinds of support. I love it when you guys engage and by the end of our support time, you feel you have achieved something, even if it’s a small thing. I have been lucky enough to have supported people to some really fun events but, if I’m being honest, it’s the smaller things that make my job worth it to me. For example, something as small as helping you make a healthy meal or make a call to someone, makes my job worthwhile. My goal is to help you all achieve your dreams and maybe assist you in finding the right way to do this.