Melissa Nugent – Member in Focus #7

This week we speak to Melissa Nugent for our #memberinfocus feature: “The Challenges and Opportunities of 2020”. 

Q1. If you could describe the year 2020 in one word, what would it be?


Q2. What was happening in your life when the pandemic struck?

I had actually started to get busy in my part time work and also my self employment journey and I was beginning to have a great balance between work and personal life, however when the pandemic struck this dynamic changed greatly for both the good and the bad. Most of my work involves working with young people so when the schools/youth groups closed this had a huge impact on my daily work. 

Q3. Why and when did you decide to get involved with community-based support?

I had tried to think about ways of engaging with my clients and young people and so I had done a few zoom workshops which worked really well. Then I had received an email from the lovely Danielle about getting involved in any way possible and I do believe that Healing Arts NI can help many young people explore any difficult emotions that they have possibly suppressed due to these unprecedented times. Creativity is a great game changer and healer of the mind and body.

Q4. What is the biggest challenge you have faced since the world went into lockdown?

I have to admit I am not tech savvy but old school so moving to virtual/zoom working certainly presented many challenges. As well as missing the in-person work and group dynamics of any creative collaboration I also found it difficult to separate work from home life as I then had to turn a spare room into an office. On a positive it was nice to not have to travel so much.

Q5. Are you excited about any opportunities that have arisen this year?

Yes, I have meet so many wonderful people who like myself want to reach out and help people who have been affected by COVID-19 and other isolated issues. I got the opportunity to do creative writing work with a group of children in India via zoom and also with a dance company in Scotland via zoom. I did a press release in the Local Women Magazine which was a great achievement for me as I got to tell my story as to why Healing Arts was established. I took the plunge and decided to go back to study counselling with the University of Ulster which I feel will benefit my career and personal life.

Q6. How are things looking for the remainder of 2020? 

Very positive as I have my studies to keep me focused and I have also started to gain contacts for my self employment, so classes are starting to get busy again. Overall I do believe that things happen for a reason and whilst this pandemic has caused great loss and sadness I believe it has also brought great hope and perspective that all we need is love, family and friends to make our world complete.

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