Allison was the fourth born out of her five siblings and was brought up in Hackney, East London. She was an accountant for 14 years before starting her real passion - working with vulnerable people. 

After almost losing her nephew twice to knife crime, Allison was fascinated by charities that centred around knife crime and found a sense of real support from them that it made her approach the Hackney-based Charlie Burns Foundation. This is where she felt at home and took a real shine to helping the victims families and began volunteering there. The charity not only offers emotional support to the victims parents specifically of violent knife crime, but also works towards eliminating knife crime altogether. Her own experiences have given her the sensitivity and determination she needs to work with victims and their families. 

In her first year as a foundation student at UEL Allison became a student ambassador, and helped the widening participation team design and create curriculum-related sessions about psychology for secondary and post-16 students. She eventually graduated with a first class BSc in Clinical and Community Psychology, and is now in the last year of her master's degree.

In 2019 she won the 'student of the year' award in the National Educational Opportunities Network (NEON), and after graduating hopes to continue her work with people who have been affected by knife crime, also with the Charlie Burns Foundation. Allison believes that one of the reasons knife crime is such a problem is that not enough research has been carried out into it yet.

Allison not only studies and volunteers, she is also a mother - all activities that require not just skill and sensitivity, but also immense strength and determination.

Allison was interviewed by journalism student Rachel Deane.

Allison Vitalis portrait image