Belfast Telegraph

Photo of me selling drink is just pure mischief, says alcohol worker in The Estate

By Amanda Poole

A pregnant alcohol support worker who starred in hit reality TV show The Estate has said people posting snide internet comments after a photo appeared on the web of her selling drink are simply making mischief.

A photo of Emma Kennedy holding a container of alcohol at a Co Antrim nightclub has been doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter over the last few days.

Emma (26) — now eight months pregnant — hit back at the troublemakers.

She explained that the picture of her working at Kelly’s nightclub in Portrush was most definitely “pre-bump” and taken a few years ago when she was a student, before she started to help people with alcohol problems.

One of the comments said: “I suppose standing in a glam nightclub with drinkers is far better than walking alone into dodgy house drinking dens looking at raging alcoholics.”

Another read: “Do you think working with her client drove her to it?”

The Castlerock woman said she can’t understand what all the fuss is about and that she’s been shocked by the negativity directed toward her and others who took part in The Estate.

“I’m just glad it was at least a nice photo,” said Emma. “For me it was just work. I’m sure I’m not the first student to work at a nightclub.

“It paid my petrol money to take me to tech. I had finished uni and was starting tech and I needed a job and money. I can’t understand what all the fuss is about.

“It was an over-18 club and they were sweet Apple and Cola Cube shot drinks with a strength of around 15% people would come to us to buy.”

Emma, who has a BSc in Community and Youth work from the University of Ulster, hasn’t touched alcohol throughout her pregnancy.

“There have been bad things said about just about everyone on the show. But, I suppose there will always be people who see the negative in anything,” said Emma.

“It’s all been blown out of proportion. I just want to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy.”

Viewers of the The Estate followed Martin, an alcoholic, who had just moved into Ballysally estate in Coleraine after nine years on the streets.

It tracked his battle with alcohol, and how Emma was on hand to try and help him and others get their lives back on track.

In the last episode of The Estate, the viewing public learned Emma was made redundant from her job at Threshold Alcohol Outreach Service.

Emma said she’s now looking forward to giving birth to her first baby next month and has plans to “take her work to the next level” by studying to be a counsellor.

Speaking about her role in the programme, the mum-to-be said: “I am happy to have taken part.”

Background

Alcohol support worker Emma Kennedy was first thrust into the public’s consciousness eight weeks ago when she agreed to take part in the BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary The Estate filmed on Coleraine's Ballysally Estate over one year.

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