Education can often be the turning point in peoples lives to create a change, support growth and enable them to think differently about life.
At the heart of everything we do are the core values in which Blackburne House is built upon; transformation, independence, equality and inspiration. Our students also embody these values. Their journeys inspire us to continue to build, support and empower futures.
We caught up with Donna who opens up about her success story. Donna hasn't let her past shape her future - as an anxiety sufferer and a domestic abuse survivor her achievements, triumphs and ambition are remarkable.
What was your life like before Blackburne House?
Before I came to do a course at Blackburne House I owned a hair and beauty business for 9 years. Six years ago became a turning point as I began to run my events for with large scale companies, brands and charities. I enjoyed working with the community supporting different organisations such as The Girls Network, Macmillan, Cancer Research UK and the mental health charity MIND.
Mental health is close to my heart as in my personal life I am a domestic abuse survivor and have suffered from anxiety my whole life. During the events, I gave people a platform to tell their own story and their journey with mental health. This was done to raise awareness and stop the stigma which is attached to mental health. The guest speakers touched the audience with their real-life stories as many can relate, and it is okay not to be okay and it's good to talk. That is the message that was coming across.
What made you get back into education?
I went back into education because I wanted to learn how to deliver workshops in the community focusing on areas such as confidence building, goal setting and development.
Why did you choose to study at Blackburne House and how did you hear about it?
I chose to study at Blackburne house because it is a women's only college, steeped in history. The building has so much character and you can feel a lovely vibe when you walk in. I had heard about Blackburne House when attending a business event in Liverpool and I asked for a leaflet. I call it fate, it was meant to be.
What did you study and how did you find returning to education?
I studied level 4 training and education in the lifelong learning sector. I was excited about returning to education once again to learn this new skill and to build my confidence in standing in front of a class.
I found my experience at Blackburne House warm and friendly and very welcoming. You are taught to a high standard in a relaxed atmosphere. The lessons are well prepared and there is plenty of encouragement to bring out the best in you. You can feel the difference in yourself as you progress with the course and you grow as a person as you are developing your skill.
How did you find your experience at Blackburne House?
I was supported very well during the course and I can't thank Gill Dulgarn enough because during the course my boyfriend died suddenly and I was granted extra time to complete my studies. It took a lot of inner strength and encouragement to complete the course but I did it. So I have a lot of gratitude to Blackburne House for supporting me throughout a traumatic time.
As part of the course, I also found a placement at Mersey care recovery college where I was trained to deliver workshops to service users and I was also team teaching. It was an amazing journey full of wonderful support.
What would you say to other women thinking of going back into education?
I would encourage other women to go back to education. It is a journey of empowerment through education and also self-development. You meet new people and you are supported in your learning environment whilst learning a new skill and it can lead to further progression in education should you decide to go to university.
What have you done with your qualifications?
After gaining my Level 4 qualification, along with other qualifications, I gained a place at Liverpool John Moore's University. I am now a 2020 graduate with a 2.2 in Events Management.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I am now in the process of applying for a masters degree to progress further, as I have found myself just wanting to achieve even more.
My aspirations for the future are to be a social entrepreneur and to be back in the business world again. My vision is to organise well-being retreats and workshops, and have a social mission that would help people in the local community by providing free events. My passion is to help people and make a difference in other peoples lives and give them the knowledge and tools to transform.
I hope this blog inspires other women to return to education and attend this wonderful college that made such a difference to my life and helped me progress to university.