Changemaker Awards 2018
In 2018, there were 12 awards given out to 13 deserving recipients. Look through all the winners below to discover what they do that makes them Changemakers.
Winner – Bellinge Community House
Bellinge Community House endeavours to improve their local community through the advancement of education, furtherance of better health and the relief of poverty, sickness, and distress. They recently facilitated a project to provide a low-cost accessible programme of sport and physical activity to impact on the long-term participation levels of those living in the wards of Bellinge and Ecton Brook. The programme engaged the whole community but was targeted to those who are inactive and specifically those from the following groups: women and girls, older people, disabled people and those from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds. As well as encouraging residents to engage in the project as participants, opportunities were developed for them to volunteer their time as Community Champions to promote the project within their communities. Individuals were also identified and developed as Local Leaders / Activators who were provided with training, 1:1 support and mentors, with the long-term aim of sustaining the activities and maintaining participation in the area. Through the project 234 people took part in sport, leisure, and training activity with 164 people reporting improved health and well-being. Bellinge Community House demonstrates a commitment to engaging the local community and making a significant contribution to improving the health and well-being of the people who live in the wards it serves.
Winner – Vicki Dean, Subject Leader: Foundation Study Framework
Vicki has been the driving force to embed Changemaker within the curriculum of the Foundation Programme. The Foundation Study Framework offers a new and exciting route into studying for a degree, attracting ambitious and driven students who are willing to learn and advance, no matter what their educational background. Since taking over as Subject Leader, Vicki has created a team that has instilled Changemaker values into her students’ learning; giving them the foundation to find their own voice and way of effecting change in the world. She has engaged across the University and beyond to inform how the Framework can not only support students with Changemaking, but to ensure that students are fully equipped to excel at their studies. Her approach has been collaborative and student focused, and her leadership has ensured that the building blocks to creating the Changemakers of the future are in place on the Foundation Study Framework. Vicki embodies the ethos of what it is to be a Changemaker and is fully committed to making a positive impact both for, and with, her students.
Winner – Greenfields Primary School
In the 2017/18 academic year Greenfields Primary School embarked on a project to explore the meaning of well-being within their school and local community. Pupils from the School Council developed a programme to transform the school’s awareness and engagement in understanding mental well-being for pupils, staff, parents, and the wider community. To increase the reach of the programme all parents were invited to take part in a well-being afternoon to encourage the parents and children to participate in the activities together and learn skills that they can make use of at home. The programme has impacted hugely on the individuals who took part in the pilot project, raising awareness of real actions that can be taken to improve mental well-being. After the successful initial pilot programme, the School Council started work on developing an on-going scheme, to include a rolling six-week programme of targeted interventions for those known to the school as having poor mental health and well-being. This scheme will be run in conjunction with the school’s Family Support Workers and will ensure an even greater impact going forward.
Winner – Chris Powis, Head of Library & Learning Services
As Head of Library and Learning Services, Chris is instrumental in encouraging his department to embrace Changemaker in both their personal development and service delivery. He leads on their ever-growing programme of Changemaker initiatives including Lunchtime in the Library, Telling Tales, Story Seekers Reading Groups, the Skills to Succeed Project with the Beehive, Love in the Library and Exam Stress Workshops. He actively encourages his team to think as Changemakers, not only in their University roles but also in their personal lives and engagements outside of University. Chris is recognised across University as being an individual who truly embodies and shares the Changemaker ethos in the way he approaches the world and his commitment to ensuring both the staff and student experience is enhanced through Changemaker.
Joint Winners – Bethel Tadesse, Education and Social Care Graduate & Laney Holland, BSc Midwifery Graduate
Bethel Tedesse – Bethel is a recent Joint Honours Education and Social Care graduate who is passionate about women’s rights and women’s health. This passion and her experience of volunteering with several organisations led her to launch her own enterprise, Hidden Scars. Founded in February 2015, Hidden Scars’ aim is to inform professionals and students about Female Genital Mutilation with the overall aim of reducing the practice. The project, that works mainly in Leeds and Northampton, also works with schools and foodbanks to provide disadvantaged girls with sanitary products. The development of Hidden Scars was underpinned by Bethel’s professionalism and desire to make a difference. Her actions truly reflect the transformational practice that underpins the University’s Changemaker approach; using your education to make a difference in areas that matter most to you.
Laney Holland – Laney, a recent BSc Midwifery graduate, is passionate about eradicating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). She is well known in the county and town for her tireless campaigning on the subject and is seen as a pioneer in the county on this subject. Combining her vocation with her passion, she is approaching the issue through maternity services from her position as a Midwife. Knowing that she wanted to focus on supporting victims and educating communities she established the charity Creating Equalz. The charity aims to find positive and meaningful solutions to race inequalities through a variety of programmes and projects. Initiatives to tackle the practice of FGM include an awareness raising training programme for professionals and communities and an information booklet, developed in close consultation with local communities affected by the practice, which provides a clear referral pathway for survivors suffering from the consequences of FGM. Laney’s passion and her persistence in the face of constant challenges mean that Laney will continue to strive for justice for these young women in our community.
Winner – The Law Department
The Law Department have developed a strong portfolio of activities that have supported local organisations to be sustainable through the application of legal expertise. These include the successful StreetLaw programme which provides public legal education and information for Northamptonshire, which has in the last few years targeted information on key issues, for example tenancy and homelessness, ensuring that the information is taken to those in need. In addition, the monthly pro bono legal advice clinic, run in conjunction with Citizens Advice Bureau and Shoosmiths, allows students to gain sector experience, working as note takers and researchers, whilst at the same time developing an understanding of a wide range of legal matters and the realities they create for people in the community. The Law Department’s commitment to creating partnerships across sectors provides a level of service to those who cannot afford to access the legal profession in any other way. Their commitment and passion to all their activities provides law students with valuable exposure to real life experiences and situations and, in no small way, ensures that people without access to legal advice can gain justice.
Winner – Roots of Empathy
The Roots of Empathy Programme, run in partnership with the University of Northampton, raises levels of empathy in children, resulting in more respectful and caring relationships and reduced levels of bullying and aggression. The programme brings parents and young babies into primary schools so that pupils can learn empathy skills. Visits occur at regular points throughout the school year so that the school children can see the baby’s development and the parent-child relationship while learning to understand the baby’s emotions and how the baby communicates throughout the first year of its life. Pupils are encouraged to identify not only the way the baby develops, but their own feelings, and how their behaviour can impact the feelings of others. To date over 400 local children have been involved in the programme, developing their social and emotional connections. The project has recently been used as an example in Universities: Improving Futures, a campaign by Universities UK, to demonstrate how a university when connected to the community can make a significant social impact. Roots of Empathy has gained the University of Northampton international recognition for its work and has highlighted the University’s expertise in early years education.
Winner – Liz Carroll-Wheat
Liz held a pivotal role in the development and delivery of School of Life, a lottery funded intergenerational project bringing different ages and experiences together to share and learn new skills across Northamptonshire. Liz has been crucial to the success of the project and with her energy, commitment, pure excitement, and passion the project has gone from strength to strength exceeding all targets over the past three years. Through Liz’s driving passion the project has worked across the community and has developed partnerships with care homes, schools, youth groups, the University of Northampton and local councils and has engaged with the public through a range of fabulous events. These events included The Eclectic Catwalk which saw Liz working with local theatre creative Tamsyn Payne to bring together a fashion show with a difference. Liz generated connections with local businesses, University of Northampton students, Age UK and School of Life members to produce a fusion of fashion and generations. It is Liz’s creativity, vision, and enthusiasm for bringing together so many groups that has contributed to the strong relationships and sustainable partnerships that made School of Life the success that it was.
Winner – Dr Michael Opoku Agyeman, Senior Lecturer in Computing
Michael is the founder of the SmartWorld initiative, an internationally collaborative project that uses technology, particularly Internet-of-Things (IoT), to provide solutions to potential crisis in developing countries. Through the SmartWorld initiative, Michael has put new teaching methods in place to produce real-world practical solutions to these issues in the form of projects, dissertations, and research. In addition, the project has attracted externally funded international research students, from Ghana and Iraq, to the University of Northampton. Michael continues to inspire students with his ambitious tenacity that highlights the multidisciplinary benefits of using computing to improve health and well-being on a global scale.
Winner – The Learning Bus
Tracey Thorne recently graduated from BA (Hons) Learning and Teaching. Through her experience as a teaching assistant, Tracey was very aware of the number of services schools need to provide, and the barriers to doing so. In 2017 Tracey set up The Learning Bus, a Community Interest Company, which brought her desire to support struggling schools and her passion for providing food education together. The Learning Bus is a mobile teaching space facilitating healthy eating education, that has to date reached over 300 children. The bus allows the children to explore and learn what they like and don’t like; understanding that healthy eating education isn’t just being told what to eat but is about choice and variety within a range of healthier options. Through support from the Changemaker Hub and the Enterprise Club, Tracey was granted funding and has been able to expand her offer over the summer months, developing her resources and employing an intern from the Entrepreneurship Foundation Course at the University of Northampton. Tracey has recently taken advantage of the Ready to Grow Project, run by Building Business based within the University of Northampton’s Innovation Centre, who have worked with her to refine and improve The Learning Bus CIC.
Winner – Game Changers
As a society Game Changers have a strong commitment to creating social value and cohesion among students. Over the last academic year, they focused their activities on creating a greater awareness of mental health issues within the student community as well as raising funds for The Lowdown in a bid to reduce waiting time for new service users. As a group they recognised the importance of allowing students to speak openly about mental health and explore topics in a safe environment. They have truly embraced the need to acknowledge that mental health is an increasing problem for all age groups and are dedicated to addressing this within University. To raise awareness of this vital cause they committed themselves to planning and implementing an on-going programme of events on campus to reach as many students as possible. This included a panel session, in the style of Question Time, which saw a group of sector experts tackling questions from an audience of staff and students and a Tea and Talk event where students were able to openly discuss mental health issues with their peers. The committee have fully embraced the Changemaker ethos and their passion for change has driven all their activity this year. Their desire to increase awareness about this important issue has been underpinned by a desire for students to know where they can go for help and how peer support can be generated in friendship groups.
Winner – Suzi McGowan, MSc Child & Adolescent Mental Health and Chief Executive of iDID Adventure