Selfless acts making positive impacts

Unsung heroes have been bubbling with pride after their passion and commitment were officially recognised by their peers.

More than 2,800 nominations were received for this year’s Leeds Partnership Awards

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In the second of a regular feature series – profiling winners in all 14 categories of this year’s prestigious Partnership Awards – we are highlighting the outstanding accomplishments of recipients of both the Wellbeing and the Equality and Inclusion accolades.

The coveted awards celebrate those people who truly put into practice the Leeds Partnership – an agreement setting out our shared commitment to work together to support all aspects of our University community.

Wellbeing Award

The Wellbeing Award goes to the staff member, student or group making an exceptional contribution to wellbeing at Leeds through raising awareness, supporting individuals and/or actively referring others.

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Antony Butcher, who won the staff Wellbeing Award

Unsung hero

This year’s staff winner is Antony Butcher, Assistant Education Service Manager in the School of Music and the School of Performance and Cultural Industries (PCI). He’s a committed spokesperson about mental health and brings that passion into his work, organising events for students to talk openly about these and other issues.

Among those to nominate Antony for the accolade was Merveille Nsumbu, a PCI student. She said: “Antony has always gone above and beyond to support the wellbeing of students. He is the unsung hero in our school.

“He raises awareness of wellbeing events and is campaigning for mental health … all the while being available to students and managing the course reps and peer mentors with a smile on his face.”

Antony said: “It’s a huge privilege to receive this year’s Wellbeing Award.

“I was due to set off on a three-month solo bike ride across America to raise awareness for mental health in May, so like many people I've found the global lockdown quite challenging. Winning this award has been a real beacon of joy, and reminded me just how lucky I am to work alongside some amazing colleagues to make a real difference in the lives of our students.”

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Holistic Health and Wellbeing Society committee members (from left) Alix Smith (fifth year representative), Charlotte Taylor (Secretary) and Kelsey Loveday (President) at another awards ceremony

Hugely beneficial work

The student group winner – the Holistic Health and Wellbeing Society – has organised and run an innovative peer-supported wellbeing intervention this year, consisting of six ‘Self First Aid’ workshops for all healthcare and medical students.

Sonya Bushell, a Medicine and Health student, was among those to nominate the Society. She said: “The peer-supported intervention consisted of eight sessions led by an experienced facilitator. Each session included a creative workshop, a guided meditation session and a short screening (such as a Ted Talk) followed by discussion. This meant heavy topics could be explored in a relaxed and interactive way.

“Topics covered included financial stress, coping strategies for feeling overwhelmed, embracing the present and learning how to deal with failure. The events were well-organised, enjoyable and useful. The Society should be commended for identifying a need and stepping up to meet it.

“I would like to thank all involved in the Society for their hugely beneficial work.”

Society President, Kelsey Loveday, said: “We are very grateful for the recognition from the University through the Partnership Awards and hope to reach more students who may benefit from our events.

“We’ve put on some really great events this year, which have really encouraged students to get more involved and engaged in wellbeing and looking after themselves. This year, we’ve really tried to make wellbeing more accessible by putting on a free series of mindfulness workshops to allow students to find out what they enjoy doing to de-stress and relax. We’re really happy that we won this award and hope to continue running events to support students’ wellbeing in the faculty.”

Equality and Inclusion Award

The Equality and Inclusion Award celebrates the people who strive to create a fair and equal environment in which everyone can achieve their potential.

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The Arts and Humanities Outreach Team won the staff Equality and Inclusion Award for its passion and commitment to widening participation

Passion and commitment

The Arts and Humanities Outreach Team won this year’s staff award.

Dr Sarah Harvey Richardson, Outreach and Saturday Club Project Officer for the team, said: “I would like to nominate my colleagues in the Arts and Humanities Outreach Team for their passion and commitment to widening participation.

“Through a rich and varied programme of outreach and engagement activities, they consistently inspire school students and teachers, raising attainment and aspiration to HE both locally and nationally. The team works with academics and students across the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures to develop and deliver numerous talks and workshops, sustained engagement projects, residentials, teacher conferences and more.”

In a joint statement, team members said: “We are unbelievably proud to be announced as the winners of the Partnership Award for Equality and Inclusion.

“Widening participation is our passion and we are committed to providing engaging and inspiring outreach activities for a diverse range of pupils and teachers. We couldn't deliver our outreach without the support and hard work of the faculty's academics and our fantastic team of Education Outreach Fellows and Leeds Loves Ambassadors, so a big thank you to everyone involved and we look forward to continuing to fly the flag for the Arts, Humanities and Cultures.”

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Tanya Arackal is the student winner of the Equality and Inclusion Award

Truly inspired

Tanya Arackal – the student winner of this award – has created a community for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women and non-binary people to meet through the OnBeat Society, so their voices can be heard.

Tanya said: “Thank you to everyone for this award.

“Being here at Leeds has taught me to embrace my identity and heritage more than ever before. Starting OnBeat has led me to so many amazing friends and built such a wonderful network of women of colour in the north. For this work to be recognised means a lot!”

* More in-depth profiles of each of the winners will appear on the For Staff website during the coming weeks. These will also be promoted via the fortnightly All Staff enewsletters and the Staff Twitter account.

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