Wednesday 25 November 2015

Kids on campus event

​​Two undergraduates from the University of Northampton have set up a social enterprise which aims to help solve some of the problems students with children can encounter.

Laura Youens and Sam Dorywala were aware that parents who study often face a multitude of problems, as they try to juggle home and university life.

“Mums and dads can find it tricky to balance a fast-paced study life with home life, and it can be a struggle for them to socialise with their fellow students because of their extra commitments and responsibilities,” said Laura, who is studying Accounting and Finance, and also a mum of three.

Together with Sam, an Early Years undergraduate, who is also a mum of three and a stepmother, Laura founded the Kids on Campus social enterprise, which organises fun days for student parents and their children to enjoy at the University of Northampton.

The first event took place on Saturday 7 November and featured a day of activities, including a treasure hunt, story time, a colouring and poetry competition and a children’s film club.

“It was an amazing day, with 12 children attending,” said Laura. “I am pleased to say that each and every child thoroughly enjoyed themselves, while the parents really appreciated the opportunity to meet those in a similar position to them.

“We had lots of praise from the parents who thought it was a great initiative, and we are now looking to organising another event, which will be even bigger and better.”

Visitors were charged £3 to attend, with each child receiving a Kids on Campus graduation certificate and a toy, with snacks and refreshments included in the ticket price.

Kids on Campus was the result of the Launch a Social Enterprise £10 Challenge, which was launched during the University’s Changemaker Week in October. The challenge saw groups of students given £10 to start their own social enterprise which addresses a social problem on campus or in the local community, and try to make as much money from the £10 as possible.

The challenge was co-ordinated by the University Centre for Employability and Engagement (UCEE), in partnership with the Enterprise Club.

Abi Wicks, Social Enterprise Engagement Lead for UCEE, said: “Laura and Sam really embraced the challenge and have demonstrated an amazing amount of dedication and effort to making their social enterprise idea a success.”

Lauren added: “We hope to extend this initiative out to include prospective students of the University by holding a mini-event during the University’s January Open Day to reassure them that uni life doesn’t discount them from enjoying extra-curricular and social activities.

“We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude and thanks to the Students’ Union, for allowing us to use its venues – without its support, the event would not have been such a great success.”

The Social Enterprise £10 Challenge will run again in the New Year, when it is launched during the University’s Changemaker Re-Solution week, on Monday 18 January.

The University has been internationally recognised for its commitment to social innovation and entrepreneurship by being designated a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U – the global association of the world’s leading universities supporting social entrepreneurs – and was the first in the UK to be awarded this honour.

The University is committed to developing Changemakers, who use their skills and knowledge to tackle social problems in their communities and workplaces.

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