On Tuesday 14th May we held the annual Community Impact Awards celebrating the great achievements and hard work of our students.
The Community Impact Awards are part of NUSU’s Celebrating Success Awards focusing on the impact our students make in their local community and the North East. The voluntary work our students have been involved in is remarkable, we don’t understand how they have the time to achieve so much alongside their studies.
We received around 100 nominations from students, University and NUSU staff all with amazing achievements to shout about. It was hard whittle it down but after a few hours deliberating the team chose the winners.
We had 9 categories in total celebrating those who were shortlisted, the runners up and then the winners. To find out who won each category read on.
Youth Volunteering Award
Loads of you have given your time to volunteer with children and young people. Amongst you, you’ve transformed gardens in schools, taught art skills, offered study support and so much more. We want to celebrate all that you’ve done to make Newcastle a happier and safer place for youngsters.
Runner Up Sophie Wong
This year Sophie led on the Go Volunteer Art into Schools programme, with the aim of boosting creativity in young children. As well as recruiting and supporting other volunteers Sophie was responsible for designing and delivering the weekly art sessions reception children (aged 4-5) at West Jesmond Primary School.
1st Siobhan Ewens
Through Siobhan’s hard work and determination, dental students have been successful in delivering oral health education to over 300 children in Wallsend (nearly every 5-year old in the area). This is a crucial health promotion project in a socially deprived area, with 5 times the levels of decay than Whitley Bay, just 10 miles away. A large number of these children will not regularly see a dentist, so the advice given could help shape their dental futures.
Unsung Hero Award
Not many people would label themselves as an unsung hero, so we’re asking you to think about your friends, flatmates and course mates who’ve made a difference. Do they volunteer regularly and keep it on the down low? Maybe they’re too modest, but we’d like to shout about them, so get in touch.
Runner Up Harry Laing
Harry is a great student volunteer, running brew days, coordinating volunteers, putting in extra over the holidays and exam periods so that UG colleagues can have a break. He is one of the most polite and professional students who comes into the Volunteering office, quick to provide solutions and help.
1st Ellie Mahoney
As Operations Coordinator, Ellie ensures that every session at N.E.S.T (student project working with asylum seekers and refugees) is able to run. From behind the scenes she ensures the smooth running of multiple sessions, 7 days a week. Volunteering well over 800 hours this academic year, she has fostered an atmosphere of growth and support which has generated new enthusiasm and passion for a project already at the heart of a large student community.
Cultural Diversity Champion
Newcastle prides itself on being a culturally diverse place and we want to hear from those who have encouraged and celebrated this, helping make our city vibrant, welcoming and somewhere people are proud to call home.
Runner up Chris Wilkinson
As President of Classics Society and as NUSU's Racial Equality Part-Time Officer, Chris has represented his community in an exemplary manner. Raising important issues about diversity on campus and within the city through events like Black History Month, empowering and supporting those he meets, and ensuring those who feel forgotten are welcomed, heard and championed.
1st Afro-Caribbean Society
The Afro Caribbean society has greatly increased its outreach by organising events which generate connections between people of various backgrounds. The diversity of the society has grown tremendously this year, and their numerous collaborations (Medical School, Careers Service, Fashion Soc, Islamic Society, Stand Up To Racism, and many more) have allowed them to act as a bridge between people of all backgrounds and heritage.
Students for Students Award
This award is for those of you who volunteer their time to help your fellow students, maybe you are a peer mentor as part of your course or you volunteer at the Student Advice Centre, if your volunteering helps other students then this could be the award for you.
Runner Up Haaris Qureshi
Haaris holds many volunteer roles which all support students within the university. As NUSU’s Disability Officer, Nightline volunteer, committee member for Mind the Gap, Station Manager for NUTV, live stream expert, Societies Exec Committee member and more, Haaris has shown huge dedication to student representation, welfare and opportunity throughout the year.
The committee were responsible for high quality training of 110 volunteers, resulting in an excellent confidential listening service available nearly every night. They increased awareness of the initiative and fostered a much greater community feel amongst volunteers. In the first two terms alone the team covered 2297 volunteer hours; 1922 shift hours (80 days); 464 calls, totalling 8119 minutes on the phone (almost 6 days!).
There are a lot of green-minded students in Newcastle, and you all deserve a medal for keeping our planet happy. However, we’re after the people who’ve gone the extra mile to promote sustainability in everything they do.
Runner Up A Second Life
A Second Life aims to promote the creative reuse of commonly trashed materials. It has achieved this by organising a series of practical workshops, primarily to Newcastle University students and staff. Some of the team have been involved in planning and coordinating these workshops; student leaders selected materials, formulated instructions, prepared example samples and undertook risk assessments for the workshops. Other students organised the locations and times for the workshops and promoted events to volunteers. Students have supported Newcastle’s principle of sustainable living throughout the course of the project.
1st Stu Brew
Finalists at the Green Gown awards this year, the Stu Brew team have reinvested their financial returns to allow the brew kit to triple in capacity and worked on several projects focused on reducing waste. They performed research into single-use plastic kegs and led on local recycling initiatives, and deliveries are now made using an electric van. Beer is also now packaged in lightweight cans rather than glass bottles.
Social Inclusion Award
This award is for those who have encouraged integration of people in the uni or wider community who otherwise might have been isolated for reasons such as disability, age or social class. Nominations demonstrate the positive ways students have went out of their way to be inclusive.
Runner up INTOgration
INTOgration is a culture and conversation group that aids and promotes the integration of international students into Newcastle University, the local community and the UK. It also bridges the gap between international students and home (UK) students.
As many students return each week, they have witnessed an improvement in their confidence and spoken English. They have enabled people to make friends with people from other courses, other international students who do not study with INTO and UK students who they would not have had the opportunity to meet without INTOgration.
N.E.S.T is a movement of approximately 400 students who strive to create change in the lives of refugees and asylum seekers through education and empowerment, with over 250 learners accessing the project this year. The project brings in aspects of collaborative care and a multidisciplinary approach to tackling social isolation and community integration, designed to not only improve learners own standard of living and quality of life but also to empower them to be independent, integrated and valued members of the local community. N.E.S.T is on track for 10,000 student volunteer hours for this year.
Volunteering Innovation Award
We like people with good ideas. Have you launched your own project? Made an existing project better with your contribution? Maybe you spotted a gap in the volunteering market and filled it. We’d love to hear from you.
Runner Up We Are Donors
By visiting schools and giving presentations we hope to raise awareness, educate, debunk myths and spark discussion amongst children, thus encouraging them to talk about their thoughts and raise important discussions with their families and friends. This year the Newcastle group have given many educational talks to hundreds of school children. Prior to the talk, only 50% of children said that knew know about organ donation. Following the talk, this massively increased to 80% with the vast majority saying they would be happy to discuss this topic with their families.
1st Volunteer In Me (VOLUME)
VoluME is an organisation with the purpose of building a better Malaysia via volunteerism, running volunteering events for students throughout the year. The team run a student-led website that provides information for volunteering opportunities, as well as a community on social media for like-minded individuals.
Community Outreach Award
Our students do a massive amount of volunteering in the local community, and work with charities and not for profit groups all over the city. This award recognises those whose efforts have benefited the student community and also impacted positively on the wider community.
Runner Up Callum Stridgeon
Callum Stridgeon has gained phenomenal respect among diverse local communities for his passionate commitment and impact, demonstrating democracy in action with Tyne and Wear Citizens. He has pioneered a way to develop student community organising capacity, building a team of student leaders to continue this work after he graduates.
‘It made me feel tremendous pride to witness Callum, as a Newcastle University undergraduate, speak on a platform alongside Catherine McKinnell MP to address an audience of 800 people in the Banqueting Hall of the Civic Centre on the pressing issue of student mental health. It's hard to sum this up in graduate skills - but if I was an employer, educator, or civic leader in that room I'd say Callum, you're hired! Helen Jarvis
N.E.S.T. go beyond their on-campus classes to run sessions in the heart of the local refugee community, organise weekly football and basketball sessions, and facilitate group days out into the local region to immerse learners within the culture and geography. N.E.S.T provides valuable opportunities for social integration and interaction for a potentially vulnerable section of society.
Student Leadership Award
All good projects need a leader. Not someone who barks orders, but the person who ensures things run smoothly. Have you organised events or activities to benefit others? Rallied round to make sure everyone knows what to do and where to be? Projects couldn’t run without people like you, so give yourself a pat on the back and nominate yourself (or someone else) for the Student Leadership award.
Runner Up Alana Barnett
Alana has been shortlisted for her role as President of the Jewish society where she has organised many events and projects over the past year.
Another huge impact that has been made was through the Holocaust Survivor talk that took place in March. The event was a huge success with over 70 students attending from all different disciplines and courses, and they received amazing feedback where students said they felt touched and moved by the event.
1st Tara-Alexandra Burrows
Tara has completely overhauled the Eldon Society and Student-Staff Committee. Approaching her role with enthusiasm and creativity, she has opened up opportunities for many students and her patience and good humour have created lasting partnerships within the society and beyond. Putting a great deal of effort into ensuring that the Law School community is inclusive, Tara has increased representation and participation, creating student-staff events to make staff and their research more accessible to students, and taking steps to increase engagement with the SSC.
We want to thank every single one of you who completed a nomination form, we thoroughly enjoyed reading about each project and opportunity. Congratulations to all those shortlisted and our runners up but a bigger congratulations goes to our 9 winners. Another thank you to those who attended the celebration, we had a brilliant evening.
All your hard work is making a huge impact on our local community.