Community work recognised at Square Mile Awards

They have helped give cancer patients vital support during treatment, campaigned for refugee rights at the United Nations, and helped scores of pupils to improve their reading skills at schools across Leicester.

Our outstanding students from across De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) were presented with awards for their achievements during this year’s Square Mile Awards.

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On Friday more than 150 people gathered at The Venue@DMU to help celebrate the work of Square Mile volunteers who help make a difference to communities here in Leicester and around the world.

Danielle Watson, who received Macmillan’s Platinum award for her commitment to the charity over three years at DMU, said: “I think what I’ve learned by volunteering is that it might be a small thing to you, like just making time for a chat or a cup of tea, but it makes a big difference in someone else’s life.”

This academic year more than 2,500 student volunteers helped more than 130 different projects which are part of the #DMUlocal initiative to raise attainment in schools, support health and wellbeing of communities and help regenerate the city.

Among those giving out prizes were organisations and people who work closely with #DMUlocal including Geoff Rowe BEM, founder of Leicester Comedy Festival, Abigail Wattam from LOROS Hospice and Professor Dana Brown, Pro Vice-Chancellor Enterprise at DMU.

Grace Patchett, winner of the Fundraiser of the Year award, travelled to Ahmedabad to work in the Gandhi Ashram, which is supported by DMU Square Mile India. She taught safeguarding to adults dealing with child abuse cases and has since helped raise funds for the centre by joining an abseil down Gateway House.

She said: “I was more nervous going onto the stage to get the award than abseiling down Gateway! I had no idea I had even been nominated. It’s a lovely feeling.”

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Scott Davies won the Going the Extra Mile award for his tireless volunteering. He has been involved in everything from bulb planting to Beaumont Youth Club, and says he “does it just to help others”. He said: “Volunteering with Square Mile has made such a difference to my experience at DMU, there are so many opportunities. I have received so many nice comments and messages about my award.”

There was special recognition for students who have got involved in DMU’s recently-launched #JoinTogether campaign. DMU was asked by the United Nations to create a global network of colleges and universities working together to help refugees and asylum seekers and the first “student activists” travelled to New York earlier this year to begin work.

Shanika Simon Thomas, winner of the Community impact Award, said: “Seeing the students that I help go up a reading level it’s just an amazing experience. It is more than a degree. Just to be able to do something that bit extra as well. It’s a great feeling.”

This year for the first time, the awards featured accolades from charity Macmillan. From supporting with appointments, doing housework or shopping, or even just visiting regularly, they are a lifeline for many.

Host with the most was Josh Hargreaves, public engagement officer at #DMUlocal. He said: “Students get an enormous amount from volunteering. Pride out of volunteering as well as developing skills they didn’t know they had. It enhances their studies as well.

“All of our student volunteers have done an incredible amount of work and we couldn’t be more proud of them.”

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Role Model of the Year award: Joshua Swift

Also nominated: Amina Lunat and Danielle Watson

Fundraiser of the Year Award: Grace Patchett

Also nominated: DMU Indian Society and DMU Squash

International Impact Award: Jemma Ward

Also nominated: Anisha Meggi and Paulina Owczarek

Macmillan Awards

Platinum: Danielle Watson

Gold: Nadia Morwaski

Silver: Aisha Ayoob and Lucy Crouch

Bronze: Aishah Mushtaq; Amy Louise Atkiss; Bijal Nathwani; Erica Aworo; Isaac Shumba; Isabel Wilkinson; Kirstie Faye Rowley; Marc Hamilton; Nadia Khan; Rebecca Khandke; Rhianna Mae Harris; Rianna Tracey and Vinita Capil Duvarcadas

Community Impact Award: Shanika Simon Thomas

Also nominated: Jigna Anand and Aisha Ayoob

Outstanding Contribution to the UN Together campaign (joint award): Ebyan Adbullahi, Imen Fodeili and Laura Hindle

Future Leaders Award: Maariyah Sidat

Also nominated: Thom Chapman and Shewu Olatunde Odunsi

Going the Extra Mile Award: Scott Davies

Also nominated: Isaac Shumba and Elizabeth Stokes
Posted on Monday 23rd April 2018

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