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Salix Homes helps inspirational Niall achieve his dreams

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Salix Homes helps inspirational Niall achieve his dreams

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Published by James Allan for Salix Homes in Communities and also in Housing

Niall Armsden during his trip to the Himalayas Niall Armsden during his trip to the Himalayas

When Niall Armsden unwittingly found himself caught up in a terrifying natural disaster little did he realise it would set him off on the path to his dream job.

Niall, from Ordsall, Salford, was visiting the Himalayas with the British Schools Exploration Society in 2010 when he and the rest of the group were caught up in the devastating India/Pakistan floods.

Despite only knowing basic first aid the group sprung into action and set up a medical tent in a remote Indian village to help those affected by the severe floods.

And it was while dealing with medical emergencies, including bites, cuts and infections, that Niall, who was just 16 at the time, realised he wanted to become a medic.

Niall, who is now 19, said: “I’d only had basic first aid training when I had to really put it to the test and help all these people in this little village.

“Most of these people hadn’t even seen a doctor before and we only had basic supplies. It was so remote; we were two days walk away from the nearest town.

“It was such an amazing experience and a real eye-opener. It made me realise that I wanted to work in this profession.”

When he returned home Niall, a former student at Salford City College, embarked on various first aid training courses and decided he wanted to pursue a career working as a rescuer and medic with a mountain rescue team.

But having only recently started work at the Valbruna UK steel factory in Weaste, Niall has been unable to fund many of the advanced training courses that he needs to complete.

Now thanks to Salford housing provider Salix Homes, Niall, who is also a volunteer at Salford Lads Club, is back on track after successfully securing funding through its Dream, Aspire, Reward, Excel (DARE) fund.

DARE provides grants for young people to help them achieve their goals and the grants are administered by the Salix Homes Youth Panel, made up of 16 to 24 year olds.

Niall has become the first recipient of the DARE fund after he applied for £525 to pay for an advanced remote medics course in the Lake District where he will learn how to deal with major trauma such as car crash victims and people trapped by an avalanche.

Sue Sutton, director of customer and neighbourhood services at Salix Homes, said: “Our Youth Panel were inspired by Niall’s story and were delighted to grant him the money for such a worthy cause.

“Niall is a real inspiration and should be so proud of all that he has achieved at such a young age. We hope that the DARE money will go someway towards helping him achieve his dreams and landing him his dream job as a mountain rescuer.”

Niall, who is a Salix Homes tenant, added: “I’d like to thank Salix Homes for this grant, which will really make a huge difference to me.

“I’ve only been in my job eight weeks so haven’t been able to save up for these courses. If it wasn’t for this grant I would not be able afford to go, so it really is a great help.

“I would encourage other young people for apply for DARE funding so they too can achieve their dreams.”

Funding is still available for young people through the DARE fund. If you are a Salix Homes’ tenant aged 16-24 and would like to apply for a DARE grant, call neighbourhood manager Jackie Crook on 0161 7798966 or email jackie.crook@salixhomes.org or community involvement and new initiative officer Sian Sharples on 0161 7798849 or email sian.sharples@salixhomes.org

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