"We are proud to still live here where we are raising our three children"

Read Amanda's story about growing up, building a career, embracing lifelong learning, and raising a family on Kirkholt.

Tree blossom at the Strand, Kirkholt

My name is Amanda, I am 37 years old and I was born and raised on Kirkholt, as was my husband. We are proud to still live here where we are raising our three children, who are aged 19, 15 and 6.

I left school at 15 without sitting my GCSEs and got a job in a bakery. From then until I was 25, I worked a few similar roles and there were times I wasn’t working at all. After having my second child, I suffered with severe post-natal depression, and it was then that decided that I wanted to do something with my life - I wasn’t sure what, but I wanted to find a purpose. I enrolled on an Access level 2 course at college to sit 5 GCSEs. A year later, I passed with B’s and C’s, and enrolled to carry on and do Access level 3. By this time, I had found a passion for psychology and law, and when I completed the course with a distinction and extra credits, I was offered an unconditional place at university, where I went on to graduate with a BSc Hons in criminological and forensic psychology.

I feel that coming from a council estate has given me an insight into the stigma that people face, which ultimately has made me more determined and focussed to succeed. I am also a huge advocate for returning to education. Life is what you make it, and regardless of your age or background, or where you are from, there is always something new you can learn, and your possibilities are endless.

During my time at university, I carried out some volunteer work, as a postnatal depression counsellor with a charity and on the community panel with Rochdale Youth offending team, where I discovered that a lot of young people were turning to criminal behaviour because they were struggling with education and not receiving the support they needed. I decided that teaching was what I wanted to do, to offer support to students who were struggling, so I went back to university and taught ESOL to people struggling to access education at all, refugees and asylum seekers who weren’t eligible to enrol at a college. Five years after I received my degree, I graduated again, this time as a teacher with a level 7 PGCE.

As a result of such varied experiences, I decided that the best way I can support and empower a wide range of people who are struggling is as a social worker. I am currently studying for a Master’s degree in social work, and my plan for the future is to graduate in 2021 and to work for Rochdale social services.

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