Priestley Heroes: Louanne Eccleston

A STUDENT has told how the pandemic encouraged to make changes in her life and pursue a career caring for others.

Louanne Eccleston, who studies at Priestley College, changed her part-time job from retail assistant to mobile health carer during last year’s three-month lockdown.

After being inspired by her new role she asked to switch her college courses and now studies Health and Social Care instead of Dance, something she has loved since school.

“Over the summer the NHS were suffering because of the impact of Covid and I wanted to help,” said Louanne, who is 17.

“There is a lot of responsibility because the clients are relying on us to keep safe and well, but if you enjoy the job you don’t feel that pressure. I see the positives rather than the negatives in the role.”

As a carer the former Beamont Collegiate Academy pupil she visits homes, respite centres and prisons to offer support.

Louanne delivers medication, prepares meals and helps those who are immobile.

Clients range from young stroke patients to someone who is 103-years-old, but all require the same skills from Louanne.

“So far it has been a really good experience working in such a range of places with so many different people,” she said.

“You need empathy to get to know them and build their trust.”

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Louanne visited 17 people and it was a similar story at New Year.

The impact on her own festive period was not enough to deter her, in fact she took a lot of satisfaction from visiting people, some of whom might otherwise have been alone at Christmas.

Now she aims to complete her Health and Social Care course at Priestley College and take a counselling / psychotherapy degree at university.

“I am really happy with the steps I took even though I knew it would be hard work to change courses,” said Louanne.

“I think I have chosen a career that I will enjoy, but it is also one that will provide me with real security.”

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