Newcastle Students in the Running for National Award

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Newcastle University Students’ Union (NUSU) has been shortlisted for a prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2018 in the category of Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community for a project supporting refugees and asylum seekers in the city.  The award will be given to those that have made the most imaginative attempt to aid the wider community socially, culturally or economically.


North East Solidarity and Teaching (N.E.S.T) was established in the summer of 2016 initially to support refugees develop their English language skills and their children with homework. The project has now grown to incorporate creative craft classes; a STEM club for children; cultural visits around the region and online interactive English classes.  During term time classes take place six days a week at the campus of Newcastle University and the Nunsmoor Centre in the city. 


100 refugees and asylum seekers regularly attend weekend English conversation and grammar classes, and in total 300 have accessed support provided by N.E.S.T, delivered by over 300 Newcastle University students and supported by NUSU staff.  Such is the value of the project and services provided by N.E.S.T that £32,000 of external funding has been secured in the last year to support the ongoing provision of services, learning materials and social trips in and around the region. 


The THE Awards are widely recognised as the Oscars of the higher education sector.

Each year they attract hundreds of entries that exemplify the talent, dedication and innovation of individuals and teams across all aspects of university life, showing us countless reasons why our institutions continue to prosper. 


Katie Blundell, volunteer development and employability manager for NUSU says: ‘we are over the moon to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award.  It is testament to the dedication of our students and staff.  At NUSU we pride ourselves on contributing to our students’ personal development and helping them to make their most of the time at Newcastle University.  N.E.S.T is an incredible example of the value and impact our students have on the local community and improving the lives of others. 


This year’s awards will make the 14th annual THE Awards and the gala ceremony will take place the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London on Thursday 29 November 2018.


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