2017 Staff Winner

Dr Karen Rees Unwin, School of Medical Sciences 

Karen is a trustee on Ridge Hill Big Local in Stalybridge.  The area has been awarded £1million by the Government to improve the area.  Recognising the need for a sustainable outcome, Karen established a Social Enterprise, working with the Big Local, to ensure additional funding could be sought, to provide local employment and to manage the new community facilities. The Social Enterprise now has its first employee.  Karen has worked alongside New Charter, the local housing trust. The result of this partnership is a subsided gardening business for local residents.  She also partnered with Works4U which will in the future provide education and apprenticeships for 16-24 year olds.

The Enterprise is developing a gardening service to improve the appearance of the local area and is also developing land which will house a fishing lake, outdoor classrooms, countryside areas and a boating lake.  Karen has worked with Tameside Borough Council to secure a 25 year lease on the land.  A pleasure cruiser is being refurbished for the boating lake and a fishing club has already been established.  Local youth groups and schools will also be using the facilities.

2017 Student Winner

Lucia Banjo, School of Environment, Education & Development

Lucia started volunteering on Manchester’s Big Change Campaign, working alongside city partners including Manchester City Council and local community organisations. The campaign aims to change the way people give to the homeless, focusing on creating long-term sustainable change. Lucia took part in the network meetings to contribute to the practical ways of implementing the initiative and organised student focus groups to gather initial responses to the campaign. These were instrumental in influencing the design and messages of the campaign which has now been rolled out across the city.

Lucia set up the Big Change Society in order to engage students in the campaign and ensure that students were aware about how they could contribute to the challenge of ending homelessness in a sustainable way. She leads the work of the society to organise fundraising events and has worked with the Student Union to support the change in volunteering practice away from giving food out on the streets.

2017 Alumni Winner

Hannah Paterson, MSC Clincial & Health Psychology 2010

Hannah is a trustee and Vice-Chair of the Nightline Association, the charity that supports, promotes and develops Nightline services. These provide a confidential listening service run by students for students. Having been a listening volunteer as a student and the co-coordinator of the Manchester service, Hannah returned to the charity to help lead the strategic direction.

Hannah has worked hard to secure the financial stability of the organisation, which in turn has allowed it to recruit a paid member of staff for the organisation. She has led work on the development of a strategic framework that has allowed the organisation to provide direction and clarity to 36 university helplines with over 2,000 volunteers through relevant policies and resources and thorough training for volunteers.