January’s round-up from the Director of Social Responsibility

Over the festive season a number of achievements and milestones for social responsibility have been celebrated.

Our signature employment initiative, The Works, recently placed its 4,000th person back into work. Led by The University of Manchester and delivered by the Growth Company, The Works supports local people to find jobs, develop skills and provides access training. Our Chancellor, Lemn Sissay MBE, attended a special event in Addis Ababa in December to officially launch our signature Equity and Merit programme with Ethiopian students. Hundreds of local sixth form students from less privileged backgrounds celebrated completing our Manchester Access Programme. Thirteen inspiring young people who are in care celebrated completed the Success4Life initiative which we run in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University. Our Race Relations Resource Centre, based in Manchester Central Library, made available significant parts of the former Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) archive online. We were also delighted to learn that our Fairtrade status has been maintained for another year, ensuring families and communities receive a fair price for the products we sell on campus.

Five members of staff – Professor Caroline Dive, Professor Diana Coyle, Professor Chris Griffiths, Professor Pip Tyrell and Honorary Professor Vikas Shah – were honoured by the Queen in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List. Other individual achievements included Sheena Cruickshank, our Academic Lead for Public Engagement, being promoted to Professor of Public Engagement and Biomedical Sciences. Sheena is the first member of staff at the University to receive a Chair (Professorship) focused on activities to engage the public. And Dr Sarah Marie Hall won the inaugural Jo Cox Prize for Public Service and Active Citizenship, recognising the positive impact of her research documenting “everyday austerity”.

Our students have been busy making a difference. We held an event to mark £1.3 million raised by students for the British Heart Foundation through their donations of unwanted items. Antibiotic resistance is a growing health challenge and to address this our students delivered a fun and engaging week of events as part of World Antibiotic Awareness Week and European Antibiotic Awareness Day. Our Law students are using their skills to help people convicted of crimes who maintain their innocence and continue to appeal. And one of our PhD students, Makram Alkhaled, is leading a campaign to transport 2,500 books to his home city of Mosul, to help rebuild the collections of the university where he studied as an undergraduate.

There are a large number of ways that staff can get involved in social responsibility activities. The 10,000 Actions fund for sustainability is open to staff with innovative ideas to improve the environment. For colleagues wishing to lead positive change on sustainability there is a progamme of support to become an Sustainability Champion. Our Faculty of Science and Engineering is holding their third annual Better World Showcase to recognise and communicate the outstanding social responsibility activities across the Faculty. LGBT History Month takes place throughout February, with a wider range of free events open to all on the theme of LGBT freedoms and rights across the world. If you are curious about building a new community partnership or have a research idea you are keen to explore you might wish to attend the launch of a new Community University Partnership Initiative (CUPI) to support community organisations and university researchers create trusting and useful research collaborations. If you know a University of Manchester student, member of staff or alumnus who you think is worthy of a Volunteer of the Year Award then you can now make a nomination for them. And for staff, students and alumni looking to combine fitness/health with fundraising, we have a number of discounted entry places available for the Greater Manchester run on Sunday 20 May.

Local organisations closest to the University’s teaching and residential campuses can apply into a new University Construction Community Fund (involving the University of Manchester and its main construction partners – Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine) to support neighbourhood initiatives.

Finally, if you want to hear from some of our leading speakers, visit one of our cultural institutions, take part in a discussion on key challenges facing society, or be entertained through a performance, please feel free to browse through our extensive events pages.

Dr Julian Skyrme

Director of Social Responsibility