Social Social Responsibility University news

Manchester students who are making a difference

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The first week back following the Easter break has seen dissertation hand-ins, the start of Exam extra, and students getting ready for the final few weeks of the academic year. While you’ve been hard at work this week also saw several celebratory events, including the Volunteer of the Year Awards and the Making a Difference Awards.

The events celebrate the many fantastic students at the University who are making a positive impact and difference. So we’d like to take a moment to congratulate and celebrate all their hard work and achievements.

Volunteer of the Year Awards

Student winner: Isla Atay

Isla is currently studying Music at the University but in her spare time she created a choir and brought together people with a range of brain injuries. Isla directed rehearsals at the Leonard Cheshire’s Acquired Brain Injury Service in Stockport. The choir brought together young and old members of the community with traumatic brain injuries, hearing and visual impairments, behavioural difficulties, autism, Asperger’s and learning difficulties.

Most members of the choir had never sung before, let alone in a choir, and had widely-ranging needs, but Isla’s quiet, gentle enthusiasm and determination saw them sing in harmony at Arley Hall Chapel as part of Leonard Cheshire’s Christmas Musical Extravaganza. More importantly, the choir members loved their time together singing and became firm friends.

Student Group Winner: Once a month

Run by India Burgess and Gabriella Hartfield, Once a Month is a monthly project in which student volunteers who are self-identifying women put together care packages containing sanitary products (and chocolate). The packages are then distributed to homeless women across the city and charity partners Mustard Tree and MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health).

The project aims to be part of the fight against period poverty, to enable all women to access the products they need for their periods. Once a Month additionally aims to reduce the stigma surrounding periods, and period poverty as a whole, raising awareness of the issue and how everyone can help to combat it.

Social Justice Photography Competition

Over April students and staff have been voting on the brilliant and thought provoking entries for this years Social Justice Photography Competition. The winners were announced yesterday at the Volunteer of the Year Awards with the Grand Prize given to Shades – by Paul Famutimi-Dickinson. You can see all the winners on the website.

Making a Difference Awards

The University’s annual Making a Difference Awards took place on the evening of Thursday 2 May in Whitworth Hall.

The awards highlighted the rich breadth of social responsibility impact by students, staff and external partners and covered categories such as research impact, public and community engagement, widening participation, equality, environmental sustainability and social enterprise.

More than 170 individuals and teams submitted entries, with judges recognising 14 winning and 28 highly commended awards. The winners included a team from the School of Health Sciences for their work on suicide prevention and a team of staff and students investigating miscarriages of justice.

A Special Award was also presented to Professor James Thompson, who will be stepping down from his role as Vice-President for Social Responsibility this summer, for his commitment to social responsibility over the past eight years.

Details of all the winners and highly commended can be found on the socal responsibility website and short films about each of the winners are available on the social responsibility YouTube channel.

Undergraduate of the Year Awards

Earlier last week we announced that Manchester student Luke Collinson had won the Construction and Engineering Undergraduate of the Year Award, at this years TARGETJobs awards. Luke who studies Mechanical Engineering at the University, was one of 10 national finalists and won a summer placement with an international engineering company.

A massive congratulations to all our students and staff who won awards this week, it’s truly deserved. We hope that our all our students continue to have such a positive impact on wider society and make a difference.