Chancellor’s Fund leads to windfall of student successes

Date 15.03.2023

From projects to support neurodiverse people, to developing careers in racing sports, students are making good use of their windfalls from a University fund.

The Chancellor’s Fund provides successful applicants with awards of between £100 and £1,000 to fund activities or resources which enhance students’ education or employability. This includes training, research, or extracurricular activities with a clear social impact benefit.

Multimedia Sports Journalism student Richard Smyth put his money to good use supporting his studies by reporting from big race car sports events. He says: “I was able to attend many races in the British GT, GB3 Championship and GB4 Championship, allowing me to be at the track side to experience a live media room, conduct interviews with drivers and photograph the events.

“With support from the Fund, I have also expanded ‘The Apex Motorsport’ – my own motorsports media company – and bring in four new team members, all of whom are first-year students in the Multimedia Sports Journalism course here at UON.

“The support helped me gain so much experience working in a motorsport paddock, something I would like to do more of in the future.”

Kirstie Pope is a postgraduate Psychology student and is a champion of better understanding and support for people who are neurodiverse. She adds: “I applied for the Chancellor’s Fund to help sustain an initiative I started at UON – (Neuro)Diversity, a monthly safe space and structured social group for students who identify as neurodivergent. The financial support meant I could keep the group running in terms of day-to-day items and buy other resources, such as sensory items.

“This academic year, (Neuro)Diversity has grown and is absolutely thriving. I have welcomed five new members and have just received two new ‘referrals’: one from the University’s ASSIST team and another via a personal academic tutor. This is in addition to the returning students from the previous academic year. The students in the group come from many degree courses, and I feel this is a key demonstrator of the group’s success. Not only are students who have previously engaged continuing to come, they are also bringing new students, and members of staff are promoting the group to their cohorts.”

Nadia Puttock, who has graduated from our Acting for Contemporary & Devised Performance degree, used the cash to fund specialist fight training. She says: “The Fund meant I could complete a two-week intensive training course with the UK’s leading fight and intimacy company. During the course I further developed my stage combat further, specifically training in longsword and case of rapiers, two weapons I had not been trained to use.

“The fund allowed me to gain additional qualifications in stage combat, broaden my knowledge in the stage combat field with training in new weapons, and expand my connections in the field.”

Finally, History PhD student Siobhan Hyland is also an Olympic class weightlifter. She used the Chancellor’s Fund to add to the professional support she receives as a member of the Northampton Energy Elite Athlete Scholarship. She concludes: “In order to maximise and capitalise on the excellent support and coaching, I used the Chancellor’s Fund to pay for private Olympic weightlifting coaching.

“The first block of funding paid for coaching up to the British Open Series in December 2021. I improved my technique in both lifts, which has given me confidence in my lifting and a solid platform from which to work from in the next block of funding. I have already managed to increase my personal best in some aspects of weightlifting, so I am very hopeful for my next competition. Without the funding, I would have struggled to find consistent support.”