Changemaker Awards 2019/2020

In 2019/20, there were 11 awards given out to 11 deserving recipients. Look through all the winners below to discover what they do that makes them Changemakers.

  • Winner – Laura Graham

    Laura is a community champion for Northampton, building connections to create a stronger community. Focussing on both grassroots and institution levels she has initiated positive changes that have impacted many people, taking action while inspiring others to do the same. Her successes have included founding the community zine The Happy Hood, which celebrates good news in Northampton and gives a platform for local artists and writers to get published; launching LiftNN, a multi-agency working group to spark collaborative working for the good of Northampton; and creating community connections through GoodNeighbour, a scheme launched in Laura’s neighbourhood. Laura also works with Age UK Northants, securing them the position of Charity of the Year with Northants Chamber of Commerce; coordinates the local befriending service Linking Lives and regularly writes for Happiful magazine, Macmillan Cancer Support and Huffington Post to promote wellbeing and community.

    Laura has created communities where there were none, inspiring others to act rather than spreading negativity about the things they don’t like in Northampton. Laura is a dynamic individual who has made community and positivity relevant again. She has helped people to see that they have power and agency to change theirs and other’s worlds. A true Changemaker in action.

  • Winner – NN Contemporary

    NN Contemporary is an art space in the centre of Northampton, working with artists at all stages of their careers to present an international programme of contemporary art and multi-disciplinary events. They aim to enrich the lives of people in Northamptonshire through the arts. They are pioneering and visionary in the work they commission and exhibit, providing the town with a focal point for creativity. They work to be a catalyst for creativity, working with their audiences, artists, funders, and supporters to ignite imaginations and inspire collaboration to transform communities. Two of the key values they embody are to be encouraging and inclusive, opening the world of the arts to everyone. They have a focus on engaging young artists and performers, providing them with a channel to explore and showcase their talents. In addition, regular career development and training events are held, providing opportunities to access essential networks and advice.

    NN Contemporary receive between 150,000 and 250,000 visitors a year, with 2,000,000 interactions though broadcasts, print and online materials. A further 2,500 people engage with the gallery every year through the programmes they deliver. This is all made possible by members of the local public who contribute over 1000 hours of volunteering support every year. These volunteers are all trained to national museum standards, offering them experience to progress into the creative industries. NN Contemporary have been through a period of significant change but remain focused on working towards their vision of being the ‘Cultural Institution of the Future’.

  • Winner – Hospital and Outreach Education Alternative Provision Academy

    Hospital and Outreach Education (HOE) is an Alternative Provision Academy that provides educational support for children and young people in Northamptonshire who have a medical or mental health difficulty that prevents them from attending school full time. As the only provider of this service in the county they offer teaching across five hospitals, two outreach centres and to pupils in their own homes. During the last academic year, HOE have led a national project to trial a telepresence robot called AV1.
    This new technology enables children to keep in touch with their peers and home schools during their hospital treatment, allowing relationships to be maintained so that transitions back to school are a much smoother process, seeing many children return to school earlier. The implementation of AV1 has resulted in an increase in wellbeing, not only for the HOE pupils but also their families, simply by allowing children to stay connected to their school lives.

    This successful trial has resulted in 70 AV1 robots being implemented across the country, reducing the isolation of many children who cannot attend school while undergoing hospital treatment.

  • Winner – Track NN Ltd

    Track NN is a Northampton enterprise born out of the knowledge that only 16% of autistic adults are in full time employment. Focussed on addressing this at a local level Track NN aim to provide autistic adults with the support they need to progress into the type of employment they aspire to. Support is provided on a one-to-one basis with each individual receiving a personal support plan to help them meet their own goals. Track NN has shown a tireless commitment to engaging not only with individuals but also with local businesses to ensure they are doing all that they can to make their workplaces aware, and more importantly accepting, of autism. By working in collaboration with local businesses they have been able to create a variety of workplace opportunities across a range of industries.

    Since being established in mid 2018, Track NN have also set up Café Track in the heart of Northampton. Café Track not only gives autistic individuals a supportive environment to develop employability skills but has also been a place for people to build communities. The Café hosts a range of local community groups including Talk at Track which was set up to give a place for autistic adults to meet and discuss employment opportunities and experiences.

    Everything about the Track NN enterprise is designed to meet needs at a personal level and the support given is tailored to ensure individuals feel truly valued. Track NN has shown that through collaborating with businesses throughout Northamptonshire it is able to increase the provision of autism support in the county.

  • Winner – UON MHFA (Mental Health First Aiders)

    The UON MHFA project demonstrates a range of Changemaker values, promoting and enabling staff, students, and the local community to feel empowered to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and support others with theirs. The project has developed through collaborative working between the BSc Nursing team and the University’s Human Resource’s team. The BSc Nursing team were keen to explore how mental health wellbeing could be explicitly threaded into the nursing curriculum using an evidence-based programme while the Human Resource’s team had identified the importance of training, support, and awareness of mental health issues in the staff community. Together they developed a mental health first aid training programme. This sustainable model has been embedded within the BSc Nursing curriculum with resources developed to share delivery to the wider University and local community. To date, 17 MHFA instructors have been trained and training has been delivered to 500 BSc Nursing students, 38 SU staff and 300 University staff as well as members of local community groups. Collaborative partnerships have been forged with local businesses, community, and sports groups to ensure effective use of resources and to promote a culture shift within the issue of mental health and wellbeing through a whole community approach.

  • Winner – HRMI Sri Lanka (collected by Vice Chancellor Professor Nick Petford on behalf of HRMI Sri Lanka)

    The University of Northampton has been working with HRMI since 2015 as an academic partner and they have embraced UoN’s Changemaker ethos like no other partner who we work with. HRMI’s Changemaker Initiatives stand to benefit individuals and families within Colombo but also entire communities in villages that until recently have been cut-off from the educational opportunities which HRMI are offering. Initiatives include: Kids Next Door – a partnership with a small state school called Mahamathya Maha Vidyalaya School to provide support in improving the opportunities available to students at the school; Inspire Careers – a full scholarship initiative for women to commence their Pearson Certificates in HRM via distance learning; SOS Children’s Village Collaboration – a collaboration with SOS Children’s Village cares for orphaned children from infancy to 18 years old, to provide scholarships and recruitment to students at the Village; HRMI UoN Leadership Recognition Scholarship – an initiative where HRMI support two students per middle-lower income schools around Colombo to undertake foundation programmes; Noise Pollution – a campaign to reduce noise pollution in Colombo by encouraging responsible use of car horns.

    HRMI are delivering significant social impact across Sri Lanka by improving the life outcomes of young people living in challenging conditions. HRMI have plans to continue improving the infrastructure of Mahamathya Maha Vidyalaya School, but more than that they aspire to engage with the families and the communities which the students come from and educate them about the importance of their children’s education to improve their life outcomes.

  • Winner – Nicola Smithers, Senior Lecturer in Law

    Research project: The lived experiences of parents involved in the decision to withhold or withdraw treatment from their critically ill baby. Nicola’s PhD was initially desk-based: a review of case law and medico-ethical guidelines regarding critical neonatal illness. However, Nicola was struck by the total absence of parents’ voices from these documents. Nicola wanted to change this. She felt that guidance for medical professionals could be transformed via research with parents who have cared and grieved for a critically ill baby.

    Nicola embarked upon a year-long project of professional and personal development: she engaged with countless qualitative methods workshops, shadowed staff and clinicians at an NHS Special Care Baby Unit and sought advice from the UK’s leading charities dealing with childhood illness/mortality. Nicola has consistently demonstrated a major commitment to social impact. Her research evidence multiple ways in which neonatal care units, support services and charities could support parents of critically ill babies more effectively. She has now embarked on a sustained programme of advocacy to tackle these issues, working closely with hospitals in Birmingham, Peterborough and Stamford, the national charities Bliss, SANDS and Child Bereavement UK, and the Royal College of Paediatrics’ Children’s Healthcare Ethics and Law Group to disseminate and implement evidence-based recommendations from her thesis.

  • Winner – Kim Stuart, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy

    Kim’s doctoral research evaluated healthcare professionals’ decision making in the care of frail older people at the end of their lives, highlighting important implications for professional practice. Kim believes that there needs to be more focus on developing the competencies of professional decision-makers in the management of frailty, guiding them to consider the holistic needs of the older person within the context of everyday life, including end of life care. She is dedicated to developing the leadership of all professional groups and incorporating end of life care explicitly into NHS organisational goals for older people.Her research on frailty has led to her working directly in the NHS to implement and monitor guidance around the management of frailty. Her work is having an impact locally and nationally, making a meaningful contribution to the way healthcare professionals will work with frail older people approaching end of life in the future.

    Numerous activities within the healthcare community are being implemented based on Kim’s research, which she is now taking forward to impact the practice of healthcare professionals, and the care experience for elderly people and their relatives. Kim is extremely committed to working towards positive change for frail older people and their families and her research is an excellent illustration of applied research that can make a significant social impact and improve people’s lives.

  • Winner – Marco Pastori

    Marcois a registered Occupational Therapist and has led the development of an inclusive children’s football club in Italy called Ready2Play. The club has an ethos of collaboration and peer support, where children of all abilities work together as a team. The aim of the club is to develop social and physical skills for all children but offers a targeted intervention to children with a learning disability to participate with their peers in a physical activity. The scheme has two main elements to its structure. The first is providing support to facilitate selfcare skills to manage everyday activities like getting dressed for playing football. The second element is based on promoting social connections and peer friendships across the groups of children to promote inclusivity.

    Evaluation following its launch in 2018 has demonstrated that the club has initiated positive change for its members. Parents have reported that the club has had a positive impact on academic achievement and performance and children have been seen to be playing more with their classmates or neighbours outside of school, embedding collaboration and peer relationships outside of the club. The club has also had a positive impact on the cognitive skills, personal independence, and social skills of some of its members.

    Marco has fully embraced the Changemaker ethos and this is evident in the success of Ready2Play where children are also encouraged to be Changemakers themselves.

  • Winner – Mandy Young M.B.E., Founder of Adrenaline Alley

    Mandy Young developed a venture as a legacy to her late son, John, who sadly passed away at the age of 24 years. Her charity, Adrenaline Alley, was borne out of one night of anti-social behaviour towards her son, where he was attacked and had his skateboard stolen. From that day, a journey began to find a safe and secure way for the young people of Corby to skate without fear and uncertainty. Initially launched as an outdoor skatepark, Corby Wheels, the charity has grown exponentially from a small grassroot community project into a large-scale and sustainable charitable social enterprise. This growth was sparked with the move to an indoor venue, which since opening in 2006 has developed into Europe’s largest urban sports venue with over 500,000 visits since August of that year, a membership of over 115,000 individuals and a European training centre for Olympian athletes for the 2020 Olympics.

    Mandy was born and bred in Corby and over the past two decades has gone from being an apprentice hairdresser to the leading force behind Adrenaline Alley. This personal journey included 18 months volunteering her time to learn about the urban sports industry and a steep learning curve of how their social impact could be enhanced through social enterprise.

    People now travel the world to visit Adrenaline Alley and train on their world-class facilities, but it is so much more than just a skate park to the local community. It is an opportunity for young people to experience social inclusion while exploring who they are, learning the freedom of expression and how to work together with solidarity and respect.  As the charity grows, so does the number of children and young people they cater for, providing additional activities such as filming and art projects, volunteering and part-time work. Young people attending Adrenaline Alley not just given a safe space to ride but can also build confidence and fulfil their potential.

    Led by their founder, the team at Adrenaline Alley are committed to their mission of serving the young people of Corby who have a strong voice in the development of the park, giving them the opportunity for ownership and responsibility which the community ethos of the park is built on.

    This ethos is exemplified in the values that Adrenaline Alley are proud to hold, and they are values that truly reflect this person as an individual:

    • Approachable and honest – always willing to listen and learn
    • People focused – always looking for the benefit to the community
    • Accessible – willing to go the extra mile
    • Versatile – having the vision to adapt to the needs of the business’ customers and local community.

    In 2017 Mandy became Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, assisting Mr David Laing, The Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, in his civic role within the community.

    Mandy is incredibly humble about her enormous achievements and in 2018 she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of her services to young people in Corby. This award is a true recognition for all the fantastic work she has delivered in establishing Adrenaline Alley as a community asset in Corby.

    2018 was her year as she was also one of eight final entries for the Third Sector Champion at the National Women’s Business Awards. This award is for women who either run, are employed to work or who volunteer a significant amount of their time working within non-governmental and non-profit organisations. After making it through to the final eight she was announced runner up out of all entries from across the country.

    In September 2019, she was invited to speak at the first Sport4values conference in Lithuania. The conference focussed on understanding the benefits of urban sports and how they can be used for the development of positive values such as equality and inclusion. The conference acknowledged that whilst urban sports are individual in nature, the culture surrounding them includes respect, freedom of expression and tolerance, all of which create social inclusion and cohesion and a cultural identity.
    Her vision is to replicate her business model to support other communities in developing social enterprises in the same way, scaling the social impact and health benefits that this type of facility contributes to community welfare.

    Mandy Young is the heartbeat and driving force of Adrenaline Alley and this award is in appreciation of the effort she and everyone associated with the charity have dedicated to their cause.

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