I’m a Graphic Design and Illustration student currently on my placement year. Covid-19 led to me being put on furlough since the 18th of March. Whilst the first few weeks were productive I, as well as many began to feel the daily drone take its toll, with limited human contact, the isolation had its own effect on mental health and life’s daily activities. As the NHS clap commenced each week and evening news shed more light on the disastrous effect this outbreak was having on our community, I began to feel the urge to get off the couch and do something. I wanted to find a way in which I coulddo my part to help. After seeing the greatwork our NHS have been doing, with friends on placement at the front line and various family health problems, I felt now more than ever empathetic and filled with pride for our wee NHS.And so, over the last few weeks I havebeen trying to put my furlough time togood use. I set out and made 100 pairs of rainbow inspired earrings. Each pair was made by hand, rolled, baked,sanded and assembled. 1600 pieces altogether. I sold each pair for £5 (Covering postage and packaging for anyone in the UK) with 100% of all proceeds going to the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. I had an end goal of eventually raising £500 to go toward supporting staff and patientcare during this difficult time.

I also wrote my own news entries and got in contact with publishers and editors at Belfast Live and The Belfast Telegraphto extend my reach.It was a great success, with £250 raised in just 3 days! With each new sale I was overwhelmed with emotion, so many people reaching out to tell their story of their connection with the NHS, messages of support and so much kindness shared within the community. Even my placement employer shared the story through their own accounts and helped me promotethe piece. The sales were picking upand I now needed to manage my time correctly in order to keep up with orders, self promotion, genuine contact with customers and still maintain my university work and placement contact. This incentive has helped me developmany skills and traits. I was able toresearch the effectiveness of crowd-funding, percentage sales of crowd-funding sites and how to correctly donate to a charity in a way that they receive the maximum amount of donations. I then researched charities across Northern Ireland which I could donate to, reaching out to NHS Nurses and Patients to gain insight ofwho this would be best aimed at. Developing organisational skills and systems to keep on top of sales, increasing my ability to confidently self advertise and communicating with supporters in an open, positive and understanding manner.



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