Interview with the 2023 Winner of our Health & Social Care Bursary

This year Ruby Harrild-Dunbar from HSC won first place and received the top prize of £2,500 in our Health & Social Care Bursary which will enable her to get her idea off the ground.

Ruby's project uses resources and games to meet the Sexual Health needs of young people who may not ordinarily engage in mainstream services through educative work, relationship building and clinical work around contraception and sexually transmitted infections. It sets out to prevent harmful sexual behaviours and promote sexual wellbeing.

We caught up with Ruby to find out what it meant to her to win this year's Insurance Corporation Health & Social Care Bursary.

How does it feel to have won this year's Bursary?

It feels amazing to have won the bursary as this is a project I feel really passionate about and I am really pleased that it has received this wonderful recognition. I am also excited that Sexual Health services are being recognised for the vital role they play in supporting patients to make informed decisions about their sexual health and promote healthy relationships.

How do you think the Bursary will help your Sexual Health Outreach Support project?

This bursary will help my project in many ways. A lot of the money will go towards resources for delivering education to young people in unique settings such as youth clubs. It will also assist in the setting up of a survey I will be undertaking to capture the anonymous responses of young people between 16 and 25 with the aim to get insight into the current issues young people are dealing with in regard to sexual wellbeing. I will also be completing my training for subdermal contraceptive implants which will improve access for the young people I support.

What are the next steps to get your plans off the ground?

The next steps will be the purchasing of resources including an iPad to assist delivery of education, I feel this will be particularly beneficial for the young people I support who have additional learning needs. I will also be purchasing games and demonstration equipment to use in group sessions with young people.  

How do you envisage your project might develop in the future?

I believe this project will continue to develop over time as new needs are identified. I plan to provide more sessions in Alderney once I have completed my training for implant insertions as this is currently not a service being delivered there. I also hope that my work supports a growing awareness around sexual health and we become more comfortable and open in our discussions of these issues.

What impact do you think your project will have on our community?

I hope that this project will empower young people by increasing their awareness of issues and providing them with support in diverse settings. I want to reduce barriers to accessing care as much as possible. I also hope that this service can assist in safeguarding young people from negative experiences around sexual health and relationships. Ultimately, the overall aim of the project is to ensure young people have access to high quality, evidence-based information to enable them to make informed choices.