Not one but two university-led projects have been shortlisted for a prestigious Educate North Award.
The renowned awards celebrate best practice and excellence in the northern education sector.
Up for the social mobility award is the Cumbria Collaborative Outreach Programme (CCOP), led by the University of Cumbria and a partnership of universities, colleges and employers which helps year 9-13 students understand routes into higher education in 24 key wards in the county.
CCOP developed the Hello Future programme, a series of motivating and engaging workshops, residentials, events, mentoring and resources to increase numbers of young people entering higher education.
To date CCOP has worked with over 2,400 students, 30 per cent of whom have taken part in more than one activity, through 221 workshops, four residentials and numerous trips and experiences that support the development of cultural capital.
Lisa Jackson, manager of the programme which is funded by the Office for Students, leads a 15-strong team with members based in three key locations – the University of Cumbria in Carlisle, Energus at Lillyhall in West Cumbria, and Furness College in Barrow - to serve distinct areas of the county (Carlisle and Eden, West Cumbria and Furness).
The team includes several recent graduates, some of whom grew up in the project’s key areas, and who are helping to inspire young people to realise their potential.
Lisa said: “Together with our partners, we’ve worked hard to set this up and get young people engaged. To be shortlisted for this award celebrates that and recognises our efforts and engagement with young people.
“It is a real asset to have graduate interns working closely with young people. Most of them have recently graduated and are often returning to their roots and sharing their experience of university. It is so inspiring and is something tangible that the young people can really relate to.”
Shortlisted in the innovation category, About Being, sees stroke survivors in the Carlisle area offered weekly dance and movement sessions to support and maintain their ongoing recovery and rehabilitation.
The sessions are delivered at the University of Cumbria’s Brampton Road campus by Susie Tate, dance in health artist, working alongside Sandie Fisher, Principal Lecturer in Performing Arts, Susie Wilson, MSc Occupational Therapy Programme lead and their dance and health students.
The sessions aim to maintain and maximise each person’s recovery and well being through the use of movement and creative exploration. The project also offers an opportunity for BA Hons Dance, BSc Hons Occupational Therapy and BSc Hons Physiotherapy students to experience work in the dance and health sector by training and volunteering for the sessions.
People who participate in About Being are stroke survivors who are living in the community. Care givers and family members are also invited to join sessions as well as participants, so the sessions are an opportunity to leave 'caring duties' at home.
The innovative venture is of mutual benefit to the community of stroke survivors as well as the student arts and health practitioners. This group provides an authentic student learning experience with students actively contributing to their own learning as well as the health and wellbeing of stroke survivors in our local community.
Students gain knowledge, practical experience and understanding of strokes, use of dance as a therapeutic medium, group organisation and leadership skills, the value of creativity and the arts within health.
Susie Tate, is the dance artist who leads the group, and who has recently been made an honorary lecturer at the university in recognition of her role in the project.
She said: "I am utterly delighted that About Being has been shortlisted for the award. As a dance artist, to see the group grow in confidence in movement and expression is inspiring, both creatively and in the determination of each participant."
Sandie Fisher, Principal Lecturer in Performing Arts at the University of Cumbria added: “About Being has interdisciplinary collaboration at its heart.
“Students from health and dance are learning from practitioners and academic staff, from each other and from participants. It is exciting to see new practice evolve from this sharing of expertise and partnership working.”
Coming up in May the Institute of the Arts in partnership with Carlisle City Council are hosting an inclusive dance project 'Annie Vicky Sarah' - Take More Space.
The project will see the company of artists deliver a three day lab with University of Cumbria BA Hons Dance students 14-16 May followed by a two day workshop for professional dance artists.
The labs will provide an opportunity for students and local artists and practitioners in the region to work in an inclusive environment to investigate new creative ideas as well as develop their own inclusive dance practice.