Investing in our community
Reaching out from EC1 to Ethiopia
2012 saw the University actively involved in many community projects. Some of these took place here on our doorstep in central London, while others saw students and staff travelling as far afield as sub-Saharan Africa. This work shows City at its best, with our staff and students using their initiative, skills and knowledge to improve lives and spread learning. Here are some of the highlights of our community work over the past 12 months.
Partnerships and projects in the local community
Our Student Development and Outreach team ensures that we are engaged in a steady stream of projects with local schools, colleges, voluntary organisations and employers. The team's core work includes community volunteering, Widening Participation and professional mentoring. City is particularly proud of its relationship with the City of London Academy Islington and the Student Development and Outreach team. Together with senior representatives of the University, team members work closely with staff and students at the Academy to support student achievement and raise aspirations.
As an educational institution, it is only natural to want to make learning available to as many people as possible, especially to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. So as part of our Widening Participation programme in 2012 we expanded our Winter, Spring and Summer Schools and gave over 300 secondary school pupils chances to experience an intensive week-long taster course of a university subject. We also hosted visits from London primary schools and our student ambassadors met almost 340 primary school children, giving them a first taste of university life. Other successful school activities included career education sessions, one-to-one tutoring sessions and subject-based 'masterclasses' for Year 12 students. Over 180 City students work as Student Ambassadors to develop these activities.
City students volunteer for a huge range of charities and community organisations across London. The Community Volunteering service has a dedicated website, which helps coordinate the activities of over 1,000 registered students. There are also over 300 organisations registered on the site and in 2012 the most popular activities included: supporting children who are being bullied through e-mentoring (Beatbullying); working to support families with members in prison (Prisons Advice & Care Trust) and working on a legal advice helpline (Release) to support drug users.
The Development and Outreach team has also been very active in developing a professional mentoring scheme: see the Professional Mentoring Scheme for more information on this work.
Supporting future F1 racing stars
There are few more exciting or glamorous applications of science and engineering than those on display in Formula 1 racing. In 2012 the University was keen to continue its support for F1 in Schools, an annual educational challenge in which more than 20 million young people across the world work in teams to design, build, test and race miniature Formula 1 cars. City hosted almost 200 school children in February for the London and South East England Regional Final. Following the event, we awarded a three-year scholarship to Edward Talboys to study for a BEng in Automotive and Motorsport Engineering. City's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Curran said: "We are very pleased to be continuing our relationship with F1 in Schools and we strongly support its objective to help change perceptions of science, technology, engineering and mathematics".
Law Society recognition for City's legal volunteer
Paul Heron, a solicitor and postgraduate student at The City Law School, was awarded the prestigious title of 'In-House Lawyer of the Year' at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2012. He was recognised for his role at Hackney Community Law Centre (HCLC) where he specialises in advising marginalised people who will not use mainstream services. His clients include asylum seekers, teenagers under the Children's Act, people with mental health problems and victims of domestic violence. Paul's work is an excellent example of a City student using their specialist skills to make a valuable contribution to the community.
Helping Hanna's Orphans Homes in Ethiopia
Since 2009 City University London's Cass Business School has been supporting Hanna's Orphans Homes in Ethiopia which were founded and are run by Hanna Teshome, a resident of Addis Ababa. In recent years students and staff from Cass have raised more than £30,000 for the charity and each summer Cass provides funding for students and staff to travel to Ethiopia, visit the orphanage and teach at its summer school.
In 2012 two members of Cass staff and two students travelled to Ethiopia to spend two weeks at the orphanage to see how the funds were being used and to help out with teaching and language skills. Cass will continue to support the charity in 2013, by raising more funds, boosting its profile and providing specialist skills from volunteers.
Exporting our engineering skills to improve lives in sub-Saharan Africa
In 2012 a group of City engineering students gave their time and expertise to support Developing Technologies, a charity co-founded by Professor Keith Pullen of the School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences in 2001. The organisation draws on engineering resources at UK universities to support indigenous communities and development agencies around the world.
In recent years our students have contributed by developing a moulding process for recycling plastic bags into marketable roofing and floor tiles and designing and constructing a bicycle ambulance. Last year, two fourth year Mechanical Engineering students, Funmi Odusanya and Priya Talwar, worked on an Alternative Transport Service Vehicle (ATSV): a low-cost vehicle for helping poor families in rural areas to transport their farm produce and purchases to and from local markets. The ATSV has been in development over the last three years and a prototype vehicle is currently being manufactured.
More information on the work of Developing Technologies is available on the charity's website.