Middlesbrough College picks up award for tackling health issues

Darlington and Stockton Times: Karen Harrison who has praised the work of her employer Middlesbrough College to help with her health problems Karen Harrison who has praised the work of her employer Middlesbrough College to help with her health problems

A COLLEGE has picked up an award for the work it does tackling health issues with staff and students.

Middlesbrough College won a North East Better Health at Work Gold Award which is given to companies who meet strict criteria, including actively promoting health issues, banishing bullying and involving the wider community in health improvement events.

And student engagement officer, Karen Harrison, is among the staff and students to celebrate the achievement.

The 32-year-old, from Guisborough, who has multiple sclerosis, said: “It’s not just practical help - like software and pieces of equipment - as an employer Middlesbrough College also provides a huge amount of emotional support.

“They’ve paid for acupuncture sessions, which really help alleviate some of the symptoms, and provided counselling sessions which allowed me to talk through some of the psychological challenges.”

She was first employed at the College in 2009 as a hairdressing lecturer and was supported in this role but as her MS began to affect more areas of her life - including her eyesight and mobility - she took the decision to redeploy.

Since making that decision last year the college has done everything it could to support her through the transition.

She is now a student engagement officer in the student services department and provides support and advice to health and social care students.

To enable her to fulfil the role, the college has provided her with specialist computer software which magnifies text and responds to voice commands, a phone purpose-made for those with visual impairments, and a larger-than-average keyboard.

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