Changemaker Awards 2016

In 2016, there were 12 awards given out to 12 deserving recipients. Look through all of the winners below to discover what they do that makes them Changemakers.

  • Winner – Johnny’s Happy Place

    Johnny’s Happy Place have created a beautiful community hub/cafe within Keystone’s building in Kettering where they help those with mental health problems through providing a safe, comfortable space, mindfulness lessons, yoga, healthy eating classes, mosaic workshops, talks and lectures, and peer support groups. Born out of tragedy, Johnny’s Happy Place is named after Johnny Mackay who was funny, talented, kind, and compassionate and a wonderful human being who, because of many addictions and undiagnosed mental health problems, sadly took his life on October 23rd, 2014. Before Johnny passed away, he wrote a story aimed at children called ‘Norman the Caterpillar’ which Johnny’s Happy Place have published. Johnny’s Happy Place have trained and supported our ASPIRE Changemakers – students from the University who go into schools to help young people improve their reading and numeracy skills and use the book to help children in schools explore empathy, acceptance, and understanding of others. The work of Johnny’s Happy Place is having a significant impact across the county and makes a positive contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of everyone they come into contact with.

  • Winner – Natalie Campion

    Natalie, a BA Social & Community Development graduate, has progressed rapidly from assisting other students with their study skills to joining the Health & Social Care staff team. Not content with just being a great supporter of students and a budding academic, Natalie has overcome difficult personal circumstances to make a huge impact in her community as co-founder of Corby Youthie. Corby Youthie is a social support system for young people aged 11-17 and works with young people from a deprived area. Youthie has supported over 100 young people and Natalie uses this experience to enhance her academic practice and student engagement. Her impact is felt across widening participation agendas, and student experience and enhancement with determined belief that with the right self-care and investment, every young person can be one caring adult away from being a success story. To Natalie, hard to reach groups do not have to be hard to reach, they just need to be reached in different ways. Natalie embodies the spirit of Changemaker in her engagement with students and with her impact in the community and has brought these together in her approach to learning and teaching.

  • Winner – Greenfields Primary School

    Greenfields started working with the University on a range of Changemaker activities in February 2016. Since that time the school, its leadership team and the pupils have embraced everything Changemaker stands for by making it their own and exploring how they can build a Changemaker community in their school. They have engaged their pupils in a STEM event to promote numeracy and literacy at the heart of the curriculum, introduced ‘Norman the Caterpillar’ as part of the reading list, facilitate empathy workshops as a way of understanding how actions impact on others, and many more. Due to a car accident at the entrance to the school which resulted in a child being hurt, the children decided to make pupils, parents, staff, the local community, and Council, aware of the need to take road safety seriously. They did a lot of work to develop and deliver a road safety initiative that engaged this core group and received the University’s Ruby Changemaker Student Award in recognition of the school’s Changemaker achievement. The commitment of both staff and pupils to making a positive change is commendable, and the University looks forward to supporting and following their Changemaker journey in the months to come.

  • Winner – Nick Allen

    Nick Allen has a unique position in the University; bridging the various departments and faculties. Nick demonstrates the ability to relate Changemaker to every aspect of the university, promoting and enthusing everyone he meets. He not only sees the Changemaker potential in everything he does, he actively connects people across the University and beyond to explore shared ideas and the potential for collaborations to address concerns and social problems. Nick uses every opportunity to promote the fantastic Changemaking activities and achievements of our students. He once described himself as ‘possibly a Changemaker’ as he doesn’t see himself as the sort of Changemaker who Champions a cause daily, but the sort that sees the connections and makes them happen. Nick embraces Changemaker in a way that means something to him, acts on that, utilises his position in the university to move Changemaker forward, and genuinely demonstrates a passion and belief in ‘Everyone a Changemaker’.

  • Winner – Joanna Southall

    During her first year, Joanna (Jo) Southall introduced wheelchair basketball as an inclusive sport initiative to students in Northampton and supported the School of Health in presenting at their Disability Forum. Throughout her studies Jo wrote a blog ‘Purl Beads Jo: Health and Lifestyle Blogger’ which, as the title suggests, shared pearls of wisdom gained through managing a productive life in the face of considerable long-term health challenges. Jo brought together a community of people in similar situations and encouraged them to have a voice. During her final year of study, Jo realised her passions for changing attitudes towards disability and improving the experiences of disabled people when she undertook a placement with a newly founded adaptive travel company. Limitless Travel was seeking support to develop a quality accessibility audit framework to provide a review of facilities for disabled travellers. With the support of a university tutor, Jo developed an auditing tool to support reviewers in assessing facilities and undertook many reviews of public facilities herself. Her successful contribution during her 12-week placement was recognised by company director, Angus Drummond, and Jo was offered employment with the company. Jo is truly inspirational and has demonstrated her ability to be a real Changemaker, not only to those locally within Northamptonshire, but also nationally and is a real ambassador for the University of Northampton.

  • Winner – Students’ Union Staff Team

    The staff team at the Students’ Union have embraced Changemaker from a very early stage; identifying the potential to improve the student experience and engagement. Over the last three years, as elected officers have come and gone, the staff team have continued to reshape how Changemaker aligns with the student union activities. They have proactively promoted opportunities to students, made the Changemaker connection through the work of clubs and societies, and worked closely with the Changemaker Hub and other departments across the University to ensure that a joined-up approach is adopted. This year has seen the development of several initiatives, and we are increasingly seeing students ask for more Changemaker information, support, and activities: a direct result of the Students’ Union staff team’s commitment to Changemaker.

  • Winner – Sara Simons for the British Sign Language for Students Programme

    Having spent several years wanting to improve the employability of students whilst engaging them in community activities, Sara identified that by providing students access to a qualification in British Sign Language she would not only able to support the skills development of a number of Health and Education students but would also be able to develop a resource for Northampton students who may have a hearing impairment. A joint venture with DeafConnect, a local third sector organisation that empowers all deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and Deafblind people, was formed. Every year up to 20 students are trained to obtain a Level 1 qualification in British Sign Language with an option to train up to Level 2. Student engagement with a third sector organisation in this way has not only enhanced the students’ employability skills, but it has also led them to understand in more detail what it means to be deaf and how their practice can be shaped to facilitate improved outcomes. Students have also gone on to use their skills within the community, acting as Changemaker advocates for the University. Sara has plans to roll the initiative out across the University over the coming year.

  • Winner – Rufia Ashraf

    A graduate from the University of Northampton, Rufia works tirelessly supporting causes affecting the most vulnerable in our communities. She has been a Northampton Borough Councillor for the St James Ward since 2014. Shortly after winning, Rufia said “The people of St. James have made clear the scale of the problems the local area faces like… (the) general neglect of the environment. The real work starts now to tackle the problems residents talked about on the doors”. Within two years, she has worked to make St James a litter free zone with help from the local Primary School, St James Church of England, and the residents. Rufia has worked with St James Primary on a range of projects and was delighted to have been present when the school was awarded its Ruby Changemaker Award earlier this year for their contribution to the litter picking. She is also the Chair of the Northampton Constituency Labour Party. Away from Northampton she is a member of the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum, is supporting a school in Bangladesh, and has been working with the University to see how we might provide them with equipment and expertise. Rufia’s actions are truly changemaking and supporting people at local, national, and international levels.

  • Winner – Hayley Linthwaite, Debra Driscoll and students of Imagine a Day

    Imagine a Day was started by Dr Hayley Linthwaite and Debra Driscoll and invites participants to imagine the future they wish to see, to trust in their imagination and abilities, and to believe in the impossible dream. Amongst other things, Imagine a Day aims to place children as leaders – now and in the future, to globally connect children and to invite them to develop a global view of the world. Over the spring of 2016 Hayley and 2nd year students from her programme were invited to Pristina in Kosovo. 24 young professionals from all communities across Kosovo were trained, coached and guided to use culturally appropriate art performances as means to foster social cohesion and justice between communities, supported by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and implemented by the University of Northampton students and lecturers. The young educators, activists, volunteers, and community workers built their capacities through training activities to advocate and influence their immediate social environment. They then went into communities to apply what they had learnt to empower those communities to decide for themselves what the future would look like for themselves rather than impose a vision for the future from outside. In 2017, the OSCE Mission intends to further utilize the results of this first phase by including it as a regular extra-curricular school activity in pilot municipalities; building a community of practice and mainstreaming Changemaker initiative to hopefully affect lasting cultural change.

  • Winner – Andrew Emberton

    Andrew’s over riding passion is the reduction of crime in our communities, and he has taken a keen interest in understanding crime and the causes of crime. With his background in the Police force he has first-hand experience of the impact’s crime has on individuals and communities. One area identified as having impacts on both individuals and police time is that of theft, and in particular the issue of bicycle theft and security. By researching the marketplace and gaining a deeper understanding of the issues, Andrew has developed an innovative method of securing bikes to help prevent crime and help make communities a safer place to cycle. Andrew is showing great determination to get his product to market which has involved developing new intellectual property, product design, user involvement, and approaches to property security. Through the Enterprise Club he has already been successfully in applying for investment to help him progress his idea. Although it is always a long path getting an innovation to the shop floor, then to market there is no doubt that Andrew has the drive, ambition, and strength to succeed.

  • Winner – Jemma Vobe (accepted by Liam Blythe on Jemma’s behalf)

    Jemma absolutely sunk herself into the Changemaker Student summit this year. Her commitment to Changemaker shone through the whole event as she volunteered to go above and beyond what was expected of the ambassador role, she took on the summit. Every morning she was up at the crack of dawn to collect all the visitors from halls of residence, making sure they were safe and happy. She fully engaged in the delivery of the innovation sessions, leading on sessions, and working with the international social innovation experts SIX to ensure that the sessions ran smoothly and met the needs for both the University and students. She actively attended and contributed to the planning meetings, engaged through every stage, and made a conscious effort every evening to speak to all visitors at events to gauge that they were OK and discuss what had been learnt throughout the day. Jemma is an active Society Officer and has inspired some significant changes that have enhanced student voice and change making in ways that continually makes in more relevant for students.

  • Winner – Victor Agboola, President of the University of Northampton’s Students’ Union and MSc International Management graduate

    Victor has engaged with Changemaker from a very early stage; he has been a major advocate for Changemaker through the Students’ Union and has supported all Changemaker activities as fully as possible. In 2014, having been to San Diego University for an Ashoka event, Victor came up with the idea that the University should run the International Changemaker Student Summit. His idea was to put on a uniquely ‘Northampton’ summit that brought together students from across the Changemaker campus network to explore how they could tackle ‘inequality’ through collaborative action and commitment. This was the first time any such event had been held outside of North America. At the end of July this year we had nearly 70 young people from countries including Japan, Poland, North America, and Turkey, as well as our own students, taking part in one of the most energetic, thought-provoking, action-inducing few days many had experienced. The event has created a community of individuals who now keep in touch and work together on Changemaking. Recent press articles have shown some of those who attended from Polish universities are lobbying the EU commission on HE policy and social innovation; something their Lecturer and Provost said was a direct result of the confidence and passion the Summit gave them. Whilst the Summit was delivered through the efforts of a whole army of volunteers, staff, and colleagues across the student union, all of whom deserve recognition for what they achieved, the special achievement award is presented to Victor Agboola whose brainchild it was and whose commitment to Changemaker and the University made it a success.

Our Campus