A Kenilworth woman has launched a new charity to help students suffering with their mental health after her own battle with depression and an eating disorder.
Padua Eaton, 21, of John O’Gaunt Road, was an aspiring ballet dancer at the Elmhurst School for Dance in Birmingham five years ago.
But having just got out of a bad relationship, she started to suffer from depression.
Padua said: “It developed into an eating disorder, and it just got progressively worse.
“I couldn’t really continue with my dancing, and I realised I couldn’t keep putting myself through this stress.”
Although she later recovered from the two conditions, a further diagnosis of endometriosis led her to give up her dream of becoming a dancer at the age of 20. Padua now wants to study psychology at university.
But her experience meant she wanted to help new students suffering from similar issues.
She decided to form a charity called ‘Do The Thing UK’, which will give small bursaries to let students know they are supported.
Do The Thing UK was officially set up in August, but Padua has admitted she has found it difficult to increase the charity’s profile and funds to begin with.
Padua hopes to secure a place at the University of Nottingham and build the charity further.
She said: “I think it’s been harder because at the moment I’m not at university. I’ll be able to get more people on board while I’m there.”
For now, Do The Thing UK aims to offer one bursary for the 2018-19 academic year, which will provisionally be worth £300.
When applications open for the bursary in January 2018, applicants should explain why they want to study their particular subject, how their mental health has affected them, and what they hope to accomplish.
If the charity grows, Padua hopes to offer more in future years.
As a way of growing Do The Thing UK, Padua has launched a writing competition where participants should write a 500-word fictional piece on the theme ‘Becoming Stronger.’
Entries cost £5, and the winner will receive a £100 prize. All money will go towards Do The Thing UK.
For more on the charity, visit the website here