A mother who gave up her family home and moved back in with her parents so she could re-train as a nurse has been to Westminster to plead with Ministers not to make it harder for mature students to enter the profession.
"I think it is a disgrace that the Government is removing bursaries for postgraduate nursing courses," said the 30-year-old. "They have already removed bursaries for undergraduates, which has led to a massive drop in applications, and this will further damage our ability to attract new people into the profession.
"I'm lucky that I was part of the last cohort to get a bursary, so this doesn't directly affect me, but I have to stand up for those students coming forward in the future. I could not, and would not, have made the decision to re-train without the bursary. I already have a first degree, so would not have wanted to take on more debt. So should that exclude me, and other mature students from coming to nursing later in life?"
Grace and her husband made the huge decision to give up their family home in Cirencester and each move back in with their parents 18 months ago, so that Grace could pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.
"We have a young son and I didn't want to have to work alongside my studies to get by," she said. "This way I can focus just on my studying, training and looking after our son."
Grace moved back into her parents" home in Worcester, with their three-year-old son, while her husband moved back in with his parents in Cirencester so that he remained close to work.
"We see each other at weekends," she said. "It's not ideal, but it's only for a short time until I finish my degree."
Grace and eight other students, from a range of universities, met with a number of MPs and Peers during their visit to Westminster.
"I'm really passionate about nursing and about mature students, particularly parents, having the opportunity to return to education," she said. "The Government is going to lose a huge wealth of excellent mature students, bringing with them important life experience, to the nursing profession if they proceed with these changes so I was really keen to make my voice heard at Westminster."
"I also wrote to both constituency MPs in Cirencester and Worcester to tell them that I'd be at Westminster and asking if they'd have time to meet with me individually," she added. "While there I met with Cirencester MP, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, and shared my own experiences and views with him and he said he'd share them with Jeremy Hunt."
Grace, a former pupil of Rushwick Primary School and The Chase in Malvern, added: "It was a fantastic experience to have the opportunity to go to Westminster and be part of this campaign. I really hope that we can make a difference."
An Early Day Motion, calling for the plans to remove bursaries for postgraduate nursing courses to be scrapped, is set to be debated after Prime Ministers Questions in the Houses of Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday, May 9th).