We are the proud parents of a daughter Bethany, who wants to make a difference during these horrible Covid-19 times by becoming a paramedic. The reasons behind starting this Go Fund Me page are twofold.
• Bethany needs financial assistance to complete her degree and the target set would cover one years tuition fees, which is needed for her final year.
• Secondly to raise awareness and campaign (please see below) for second degree mature students to be eligible for funding through Student Finance England (SFE). This may not help Bethany, but it may help others in the future.
Please read her story and understand why she needs your help.
Following completion of her first degree, Beth joined British Airways as cabin crew. During that time, there were occasions where her training proved invaluable for treating passengers taken ill during a flight. Additionally, her first aid training prompted her to join St Johns Ambulance where she volunteered at several events like the London Marathon and Trouping the Colour at Horse Guards Parade.
After five years of flying and pre-Covid, she was already thinking of changing careers and redundancy accelerated those thoughts. She applied and got accepted to take a Paramedic Science degree at Canterbury Christ Church University. However, her initial enquiry for funding was not favourable due to her already holding a degree. As a result, she asked the University to defer her place for a year, which was agreed whilst she considered her options. Some months later, by chance she checked her SFE account and miraculously payment had been awarded and funding commenced in the following weeks. The University confirmed that the fees had been paid by SFE. There are some cases whereby funding can be granted for some Allied Health profession courses and Beth thought she had been one of the lucky ones , so her deferral was withdrawn and she has now successfully completed her first year and started Year-2.
During her first academic year, whilst out on placement with the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) she experienced incidents that have endorsed her strong desire to be a paramedic. For instance, there were occasions where she was asked to apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), transported Covid-19 positive patients and attended tragic events in the county that made the national news.
In March, Beth applied for her second year’s funding. Having heard nothing by May, she chased up her application and was informed that it had been rejected saying that her first year’s funding was an error and she was not entitled to it in the first place. This was a huge shock and she is now stuck in a difficult financial position. So far, she has received several apologies from SFE regarding this but is no further forward with her funding request.
The prime reason for the refusal is that Paramedic Science is currently not recognised in England as an Allied Health Profession course that qualifies for funding for students that already hold a degree. Had she been located in Scotland or Wales or had chosen Nursing, Midwifery, Physiotherapy for example, then funding would not be an issue.
Students studying Paramedic Science as a second degree are only eligible for an NHS Learning Support Fund if they meet the student loan eligibility requirement. Therefore, as discussed above, paramedic students studying their second degree are NOT eligible for a student loan and consequently CANNOT access this £5000 training grant being offered by the NHS Business Services Authority and are further financially penalised.
Whilst bodies like the College of Paramedics are lobbying hard to get this legislation to be amended, (Click here for further details) it leaves us with the prospect of funding two further years. Having now retired, this is going to be impossible without your help, hence why I have set up this page. Beth is desperately trying to help by working part time at a Supermarket, whilst studying and going out on 12 hour shift placements with SECAmb. Like most students, the juggling act can be very challenging.
If you have been grateful to have received Paramedic assistance for yourself, friends and family in the past, then please help us, to help Beth, to help people in the future. Any contribution would be very much appreciated.
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