Former City College Peterborough student Laura Dunn-Green read a letter to the 86-year-old woman at her bedside at the Philia Lodge Rest Home, shortly before she passed away last month.
The story of the home was widely publicised, and footage of Laura reading the letter was broadcast on the ITV national and local news. She described the experience as “an honour” and “very emotional”.
Laura, who has been working at Philia Lodge for 18 months after completing a course at the college, has been playing a vital role there during the covid-19 pandemic. She has supported residents along with their families, helping people that have been separated for months to communicate with each other.
Becoming a carer was not an easy process for Laura - she was hesitant and anxious about starting her studies at the Health and Care Sector Work Academy at City College Peterborough, describing herself as somebody who “lacked confidence and found it a struggle to interact with new people”.
However, since completing her qualification she has made rapid progress. Laura received the ‘Learner of the Year’ award at City College Peterborough’s annual Celebration of Learning event as well as being shortlisted for a Great British Care Award in the ‘Newcomer to Care’ category.
Pat Carrington, executive principal for City College Peterborough, said: “Our Health and Care Sector Work Academy learners have developed a range of valuable skills over the past two years, gaining employment and promotions whilst delivering vital services in our hospitals and communities.
“Laura has accomplished so much since she joined one of our very first courses and we are immensely proud of all she has achieved.”
Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, cabinet member for adult social services, said: “There are some amazing people working in the care service who are going above and beyond during these difficult times.
“It is fantastic to hear stories of young people like Laura who have benefited from excellent teaching courses and are putting their vital skills into practice.”
Mayor James Palmer said: “This was a profoundly moving story which highlights the immense debt of gratitude we owe to brave, dedicated care professionals like Laura who are working on the frontline of this terrible virus.
“I’m pleased the exceptional care Laura has provided, and continues to provide, for some of the most vulnerable in our society has been brought to the nation’s attention in this way.
“Laura’s example also shows the power of the Health and Care Sector Academy, established by the Combined Authority, to change lives. The Academy is giving people like Laura the skills they need to secure good jobs in our care sector, offering fulfilling careers in which people find their potential.”
The Health & Care Sector Work Academy is a Department for Work and Pensions Innovation Pilot developed by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and delivered by City College Peterborough. The programme is currently the only one of its kind in the UK. For more information visit https://www.citycollegepeterborough.ac.uk/