Changemaker Awards 2022
This year, there were 12 awards given out to 12 deserving recipients. Look through all the winners below to discover what they do that makes them Changemakers.
Winner – Cheryl Smith
Cheryl is Headteacher at St Andrew’s Healthcare, providing education to young people under the care of St. Andrew’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Through this education provision, Cheryl and her team have substantial experience of recognising signs of trauma, distress and mental ill-health in young people. This experience became the driving force behind the establishment of the LightBulb Mental Wellness for Schools programme, a scheme that develops primary and secondary school teachers to spot the early signs of mental ill-health in children and initiate appropriate early interventions.
Winner – Q Space
Q Space is committed to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people in Northamptonshire in mind, body, and spirit, dedicating themselves to that commitment with endless passion and care. Q Space understands that the personal is political, that LGBTQ+ identities are inextricably linked to wider politics and ignoring this prevents LGBTQ+ people from being seen as whole and gaining the rights they deserve. To this cause, Q Space encourages local LGBTQ+ community members to stand up for their rights and for those of other minority groups as well. This inclusion can be seen at all Q Space events where steps are taken to ensure accessibility is provided for all, creating safe and welcoming spaces for everyone. This demonstrates one of Q Space’s goals; to encourage people from all walks of life to learn and consider how to be more inclusive in their daily lives.
Being a visible presence in the wider community has signalled to LGBTQ+ community members that they have a place in this world, even, and especially when attacks on LGBTQ+ rights are becoming increasingly common. Educating the general public on LGBTQ+ issues and identity benefits everyone, not just members of the LGBTQ+ community, and this makes the work of Q Space valuable to the whole of Northamptonshire.
Winner – Cultural Integration Workshops at UON
UON’s Cultural Integration Workshops, led by Senior Lecturer in Acting and Drama Mrs Gemma Boaden and Professor of Computer Engineering Prof. Michael Opoku Agyeman, were created to tackle the award gap in Higher Education where there is disparity in the attainment levels of students based on ethnicity. They provide students with the skills needed to develop empathy for others’ lived experiences, decreasing fear and creating inclusive learning environments and workplaces, resulting in safe spaces that encourage all people to thrive in education, work, and society.
These workshops are an outcome of collaborations between academics, professional services staff and local organisations, including representation from the LGBTQ+, GEM and Women’s staff networks. Their success has instigated the development of a Postgraduate Certificate and staff development package to further increase cultural awareness and integration in education.
There are many benefits to these developments; students develop their skills in cultural interaction and inclusion while benefiting from the reduction of the award gap; staff will experience an increase in cultural sensitivities across the University’s ways of working whilst developing their own knowledge, and the wider community will benefit from the creation of graduates who have a strong foundation in cultural competency.
This initiative is a true example of innovation in education, embracing the principles of Changemaking to create positive societal impact that is wide-reaching, sustainable and vital for the positive development of our world.
Winner – Lemonpop Workshops
BA Graphic Communication graduate Marvin, is the founder of Lemonpop Workshops, a therapeutic self-development arts programme built on the philosophy that art-making is central to healing and wellness, improving functional skills, increasing self-esteem and stimulating creativity and imagination.
Marvin designs all elements of Lemonpop activities to inspire imagination and creativity, using the arts as a vehicle to enhance self-identity and communication, facilitating learning through creative expression. This allows people to explore who they are and understand their potential to succeed in life, with the confidence and self-belief that they can be a positive force in our ever-changing world. Marvin offers many of these activities in open, community settings, ensuring they are accessible to all, reflecting the inclusive nature of Lemonpop.
The work of Lemonpop is representative of the person Marvin is. He exemplifies self-awareness, self-improvement and the ethos of allowing your values and passions to drive your decisions. This is inspirational to all young people and adults alike that Marvin works with, and it is apparent in his workshops that his personal influence on the people around him is significant. Through his dedication to developing others, Marvin is a true Changemaker, leading others to realise and achieve their own potential.
Winner – The Lewis Foundation
The Lewis Foundation, which provides support for the physical and mental wellbeing of adults undergoing cancer treatment, was founded by Lee and Lorraine Lewis in 2016. Following Lee’s mum, Janice, being diagnosed with cancer, Lee and Lorraine witnessed the isolation, boredom and fear of people undergoing cancer treatment, along with many people not being able to afford basic items due to no longer being able to work. After giving small items to other patients while visiting Janice, Lee and Lorraine quickly saw the impact that something as simple as a gift could have on the lives of others, and from there the Lewis Foundation was born.
The charity operates by offering free gift packs to adult cancer patients across NHS hospitals in the Midlands, either at appointments, during treatment or when admitted to hospital. Recipients are offered a choice of 29 gift packs, designed using feedback from patients and hospital staff, so each person can choose the gift that will be most beneficial or comforting to them at that time.
Each week, The Lewis Foundation’s team of 50 volunteers, which includes UON students and staff, fundraise, source, pack and hand out gifts, giving away 2,000 gift packs every month across the 15 NHS hospitals in the Midlands. The size of their growth, with them more than doubling their hospital partnerships from 2020 to 2021, is testament to the impact The Lewis Foundation create, and proof that an idea born out of passion, driven by inspiring individuals, is where true Changemaking begins.
Winner – Human Resource Management Institute, Sri Lanka
The Human Resource Management Institute (HRMI) in Sri Lanka have been an academic partner of UON since 2015 and have continuously committed themselves to embracing the ethos of Changemaker.
Having won our International Changemaker award in 2020 for their work to educate families about the importance of education to improve life outcomes, HRMI continue to make a significant social impact within Sri Lanka. In August 2021, the country saw a dramatic increase in hospitalised COVID-19 patients with their general hospitals quickly becoming overstretched and unable to safely admit all patients. As this problem developed, HRMI’s director, Gihan Talgodapitiya, realised that city hospitals were overwhelmed and ill-equipped to deal with the pandemic and that immediate action was required to alleviate the pressure.
HRMI secured funding to build a 48 bed COVID ward, using disused buildings within Nivithigala Divisional Hospital, that was able to provide urgent critical care to COVID-19 patients. HRMI furnished this high dependency unit with oxygen tanks, obtained infusion pumps, monitors and oximetres, as well as installing a water supply system, renovating the toilet and shower facilities and providing a generator to ensure the ward remained operational during the frequent power cuts the hospital experiences.
Being able to respond quickly and so impactfully to effects of the pandemic demonstrates the commitment HRMI have to their Changemaker values, and their most recent success is a commendable example of Changemaking.
Winner – Paula Bowles
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Paula, has provided support to the UON Criminology Team and their students through initiatives to improve morale and wellbeing.
She has maintained and encouraged various authors to contribute to the ‘Thoughts from the Criminology Team’ blog, which in a challenging time of social upheaval, offers critical reflection on social injustices, as well as lighter material to encourage people to switch off from the difficulties they face. A popular series introduced by Paula was ‘My Favourite Things’ where authors shared a variety of their favourite things from food, music, places to visit and art. This encouraged staff, students and the general public to reflect upon the positives around them in times of great strain. The Blog, under Paula’s guidance and commitment, continues to attract widespread public interest; with a variety of topics discussed, often in line with wider social movements and concerns.
Paula is also founder of the Criminology Staff Book Club, encouraging staff to read a variety of crime-based fiction books and come together virtually to discuss related themes and areas of interest. This virtual book club encourages staff to engage in time for themselves, something which many did not realise they desperately needed.
Through all her activities, Paula is continuously working to activate both staff and students to contribute to social impact and creatively address issues of wider social concern. Paula truly embodies the essence of changemaker by creating such a difference to the lives of students and colleagues.
Winner – Charlene Cranstoun
Charlene, an MA Youth and Community Development student, has dedicated a significant amount of time and passion to reducing knife crime amongst young communities. Through her studies, work and community engagement, Charlene identified that current interventions surrounding knife crime and young people are aimed at those already involved in the crime and the culture that surrounds it, leaving many young people unaware of the dangers of knife crime. These young people are unable to make informed, mature decisions to save their own futures, and potentially lives, when they are targeted into the world of knife crime, leaving them enmeshed in circumstances that they cannot escape. Once involved in this culture, it is often too late for young people to benefit from targeted activities to remove them from these circumstances.
This is the gap that Charlene identified, designing an offer of preventative interventions to reach young people before they become involved in knife crime. This intervention/prevention approach is often easier for young people to engage in as they do not feel personally targeted, attacked or accused, and they are able to develop the resilience to evade a life of knife crime.
Charlene’s programme focuses specifically on the GEM community of Northampton as a community that she has a personal connection to. This connection, along with the willingness of community members to work with her, is testament to Charlene’s suitability to be tackling this social issue. Charlene’s tenacity to succeed with this programme shines through, and she is an outstanding example of the value that can be created when students design their own Changemaker journey through venture development.
Winner – Kirstie Pope
MSc Child and Adolescent Mental Health student, Kirstie, is the embodiment of what UON stands for as a Changemaker Campus. She not only strives to improve the lives of others but has also faced and overcome personal challenges in order to do so, and this only fuels her motivation to be a Changemaker.
Since the start of her undergraduate degree, Kirstie has fought for improved provision for students at UON who are Young Carers. Being a Young Carer herself, Kirstie knows first-hand the difficulties and additional considerations this brings, and she is determined to do all she can to reduce these barriers for other students. She designed, developed and launched the Carers’ Champion programme, training members of UON staff to offer support to UON students who are Young Carers. To date, Kirstie has trained over 100 members of staff and the programme is now a compulsory training course for some Professional Services staff.
Alongside this work, Kirstie delivers support for our autistic students through events including Autism Pride, and she also founded NeuroDiversity, a support group that provides a safe space for neurodiverse students to socialise, find a sense of belonging and be introduced to University life in an accessible way.
These are only a few of Kirstie’s many Changemaking activities. Each of her achievements would on their own be classed as a success, but when achieved by one individual who allows her personal experiences to be a catalyst for change, Kirstie is nothing short of an inspirational Changemaker.
Runner Up – Lisa Marshall-Hill
Photography student Lisa’s love for her art is the catalyst for an enterprise idea that truly reflects the nature of Changemaker. Where most photographers channel themselves into the creation of new images, Lisa’s work is based instead in the power of existing photographs.
Her venture is built around creating memory scrapbooks for people with dementia, using photos from the past that hold memories for the individual. Looking at photographs is one of the best ways to assist with recall of people and their names, which is a valuable source of maintaining and strengthening relationships. When a person with dementia sees a photo of a loved one, or of themselves in a favourite location or cherished experience, it can often instigate conversations about the people or circumstances, sparking fond memories and connections. By collating and presenting these images in a personalised scrapbook, Lisa supports this therapeutic process.
The scrapbooks themselves are made in craft sessions that the person with dementia and their families attend, adding to the shared experience and connection created. Lisa also photographs these sessions, creating new memories that can be added to the scrapbook. Lisa has piloted this concept with families in the community, securing the interest of care homes that she will soon be working with to support their residents.
As dementia care becomes a growing concern in our country, Lisa’s enterprise offers a valuable source of support, delivered by someone who understands the potential that her artistic talents have for creating positive social change.
Runner Up – Charlotte Stoodley-Howard
Local primary school teacher, Charlie, goes above and beyond the responsibility of her role on a daily basis and is the personification of teaching as a vocation. Upon graduating with her PGCE from UON, Charlie was awarded the Vice-Chancellor Award for Excellence and has upheld her outstanding capabilities ever since, dedicating herself to improving the lives of local children through education and personal development. Charlie’s style of teaching offers learning experiences that go beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum, building interactive and immersive learning environments to allow every single one of her students to access every subject and topic in ways tailored to their learning needs.
Charlie’s Changemaker ethos continues outside of school as the author of children’s book series Horatio and Friends, with each book having a theme for children to learn important messages around acceptance, self-belief and resilience. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Charlie donated copies of these books to local hospitals, along with other items, to support children hospitalised at such an unusual time. The books themselves have been described as remarkable, which is a true reflection of Charlie and the impact she has on the lives of so many young people in Northamptonshire.
Winner – Steph Lee-Vae
Tresham College Art and Design lecturer Steph’s passion, enthusiasm and dedication for teaching is unparalleled. Steph’s driving force is compassion and commitment to inclusion – getting the best out of each individual student by understanding their circumstances and making sure everything possible is in place to ensure they can reach their full potential.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdowns when students were unable to showcase their work in exhibitions, Steph founded ArtMesh, a creative arts digital magazine that promotes the work of 10 students every month to global audiences. The immediate success of ArtMesh was so significant that Steph continues to publish it post-pandemic and it has been highlighted as an outstanding example of best practice across The Bedford College Group. Steph is also LGBTQ+ Ambassador for the Art & Design department at Tresham, further demonstrating their commitment to ensuring all students feel safe, seen and included.
Steph is a true example of innovation in teaching, and during recent workshops with UON, was an inspirational advocate for the importance of social change and the role art and design can play in creating positive social impact. As a Changemaker themselves, Steph plays a valuable role in allowing their students to realise the importance and potential of Changemaking through art and design practice.
Winner – UON Estates and Campus Services
Winner – Abide Zenenga