University news

Manchester’s Making a Difference

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On Tuesday 1 May the University celebrated the annual Making a Difference Awards which recognised the inspiring social responsibility work carried out by our students, staff and partners.

The evening was jam-packed with celebration as over 200 guests saw winners and highly commended entrants receive their awards from Lemn Sissay, the University’s Chancellor. Throughout the ceremony, guests were also able to discover more about the inspiring projects which are making a difference to communities locally and globally.

With nine different categories including outstanding contribution to research, public and community engagement, widening participation and teaching innovation and over 150 entries, there was a huge amount of interest this year. In addition to the 16 winners, 22 projects also received the accolade of highly commended awards.


Outstanding Public and Community Engagement Initiative (local engagement)

The student winner for the Outstanding Public and Community Engagement Initiative (local engagement) was awarded to Joshua Strange and Team for the Homeless Healthcare Student Society which aims to improve the healthcare of Manchester’s homeless population.

Craig Thomas and Team achieved the highly commended award (student) for their A STEAM hub in a pub which brings together key stakeholders with local Hulme and Moss Side residents by providing a community-focused space for joint activities.

Outstanding Contribution to Widening Participation

Emily Cooksey, from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, won the Outstanding Contribution to Widening Participation due to her work as a Widening Participation Fellow and as a Manchester Access Programme Tutor. Through her work she’s been an advocate of encouraging female students to engage with science and engineering.

One of the highly commended student awards were given to Sadjo Siikou and Team for their Student Inspire Network project which aims to educate, motivate and inspire students from BAME backgrounds by providing them with tools to start thinking about their career.

Rhys Archer, PhD School of Materials student was also awarded a highly commended award for her Women of Science project which highlights female role models to young girls interested in science and engineering through photos and stories.


Megan Ritchie, a first year Politics and International Relations student, was invited to the Making a Difference Awards where she shares a behind the scenes report of the inspiring evening.

“The Making a Difference Awards takes place every year at The University of Manchester and this year there were award categories to celebrate and recognise the efforts and achievements of numerous individuals and teams from across the University. Despite the variety – from students to staff with a range of backgrounds and different areas of expertise – they all have one thing in common: they are dedicated to making a positive change no matter how, what or where that may be.”

Click here to Megan’s report of this year’s Making a Difference Awards ceremony.