Emer is our project worker based in Fife. We caught up with her to learn a bit more about her and her work.
What did you do before you worked at Waverley Care?
I worked for Move On and Dunedin Homeless Hostel before I joined Waverley Care. My jobs before this role were primarily in mental health and homelessness.
Why did you choose to work for Waverley Care?
In the Royal Edinburgh Hospital I supported a person living with HIV as well as an enduring mental health illness – I was extremely unaware of the attributing factors that came along with an HIV diagnosis and wanted to learn and try and support these individuals.
What is the main thing that you think people don’t understand about HIV or Hepatitis C?
I think people don’t understand that anyone can get HIV regardless of sexuality, age, gender and race. When I ran a peer support group the service users that attended were surprised by the varying age groups and backgrounds of the group and that was within an HIV positive group. They were shocked by their own assumptions.
In regard to Hep C I think that most people do not think it can be cured. There are still a lot of myths around treatment and how it is transmitted.
What is the main focus of your work in Fife?
The focus is mainly one-to-one support as people living with HIV and Hepatitis C in Fife are very isolated. I encourage them to try and make little steps to get out more and be involved in the community.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people, most definitely – I also get great satisfaction in knowing that in some small way I am making a difference to their daily life.
When not working, what do you spend your time doing?
I go to the gym; mainly metafit and body conditioning classes at least four times a week – it helps me to de -stress and has become part of my weekly routine.
What are you currently reading?
I’m not a big reader – but do read the Irish Independent on the iPad (does that count?)
What is your ideal holiday?
I prefer more active holidays rather than relaxing on a beach for two weeks – California again please!
What is your favourite food & drink?
My favourite food at the moment (I go through phases) is my own homemade almond butter and naked bars – amazing. My favourite drink is a margarita! Non-alcoholic – definitely coffee.
Who inspires you?
After the recent gay marriage referendum in Ireland, everyone who voted yes really inspired me and made me feel very proud to call Ireland my home. We can all make a real difference to our futures.