Luca ignites his wanderlust and becomes an award-winning travel guide

Luca Alfatti, a former DipHE Paramedic Practice student and scholarship winner is an award-winning overland tour guide. In 2012, Luca won the Wanderlust World Tour Guide Award, making him one of the best travel guides in the world!

Luca got the travelling bug at the age of 21, when he hopped on a plane to the USA to work at a summer camp – despite the fact he didn’t speak any English. Nowadays, Luca is fluent in four languages, including his native Italian, and can say ‘thank you’ in at least 15. He claims this as one of his most useful skills, one that gets him a long way when travelling to some of the most remote tourist destinations on earth. Luca has led tours across Europe, Asia, Africa and all around Central and South America. In 2013, he co-led the first ever commercial tour through the remote Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. His adventurous expeditions certainly aren’t for the faint hearted. In the Wakhan Corridor, it takes six days of travelling through mountainous terrain before you even arrive at the trailhead to start the 12 day trek.

Luca-Alfatti

For Luca, studying to be a paramedic was a natural extension of his well-established first aid skills that he has used when working as a guide. Now qualified, Luca hopes to return to guiding and use his knowledge to give some level of medical help to those who reside in the challenging environments he visits. He donated his £5,000 World Guide Award bursary to a charity which provides shelter and vital medical care to women and children in Guatemala after he witnessed the lack of essential services available to women in the country. In addition to the financial support, Luca set up a Central American trip which took its travellers to the charity centre while he was working for overland tour company, Dragoman, a feat which he says makes him “very proud”.

In addition to his guiding, Luca is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, which is the highest level of membership an individual can achieve and requires you to be nominated by two existing fellows before being elected by the council. Luca dedicates some of his spare time (though how he has any is a mystery!) to attending RGS events where he helps to advise aspiring explorers on their upcoming adventures.

Luca’s dedication and positive attitude allowed him to continue to train for and plan trips for his summer breaks whilst keeping up with a 45 hour a week university course! Despite the physical demands of his job and the time constraints of his course, Luca said that he enjoys what he does so much that he has “never found the job hard”. An Edge Hill University scholarship has proven to be just the start of his success.

Anna emerges from backstage to return to the spotlight

It’s always nice to hear how each of our scholars reacts to the news that their application to receive a scholarship has been successful.

Sharing the news with Anna Heatley was particularly memorable when, by pure coincidence, she discovered that her achievements were being recognised on what was already a day of celebration!

Awarded an Excellence Scholarship in recognition of her dedication to creative arts, Anna talked to me about making the transition from being a performer to working behind the scenes on various productions which her commendable charity work has helped to bring to an audience.

Although Anna prefers being a stage manager or set designer to being part of a cast these days, I’m happy to throw the spotlight on her one more time as a deserving scholarship winner!

“It was my 23rd birthday, I was out celebrating, when I received a phone call from Edge Hill University informing me that I had been awarded an Excellence Scholarship in Creative Arts. I was in shock, I had never expected to be selected. It was great news, especially as a mature student I was nervous about embarking on a degree and so this news settled my nerves and gave me confidence.

Over the past 15 years I have joined 6 dramatic organisations, all charity funded, within my local community. It all started when I joined the Warrenpoint Pantomime Club, at the age of seven. Since then I’ve played various roles in numerous productions, both musicals and classic plays. However, as I progressed with my involvement with these organisations, I realised I wasn’t born to perform, I was destined to combine my other passions with theatre.

I completed a 3D Art course a couple of years ago that equipped me with the skills required to be involved with other aspects of the theatrical world such as make-up, lighting, sound, set design and construction. I have worked backstage on various productions including Godspell, Footloose, The Beauty Queen of Leenan, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and Frankenstein. My efforts were recognised when working on these sets by receiving the following nominations:

  • Youngest Stage Manager in Newry and Mourne (Footloose 2012)
  • Youngest Set Designer (Godspell, 2011, Footloose 2012, The Yalta Game 2012, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern 2013 and Frankenstien 2014

As all of the societies I have been involved with relied on charitable funding, I have spent a great deal of time helping in fundraising schemes which enable the productions to go ahead. As I embark on my degree in BA (Hons) Theatre Design I hope to continue my involvement with both fundraising and with set design.”

I can safely say that Anna has stuck to her word as I have seen her at events around campus fundraising and campaigning for the ‘Coppafeel’ campaign, a worthwhile cause in getting females to check their breasts. If you are interested in finding out more about this charity, please visit coppafeel.org.

Oh, what a night!

Less late December 1963 and more mid November 2015, but oh what a night it was at the recent Scholarship Awards Ceremony!

After weeks of organising the event, it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves and celebrating the success of our class of 2015.

This was our biggest Scholarship Awards Ceremony to date with more than 400 guests in attendance. Visitors included local dignitaries, representatives from local colleges, University staff and, most importantly, 136 scholars and prize winners – the people that the evening was really all about.

Scholarship Awards Evening 2015

Seeing the excitement and anticipation among the scholars and prize winners as they arrived to register, with their proud family members and guests looking on, was a joy to behold.

Once seated in the theatre, we had a quick run through the evening with the scholars. I’m not sure who was more nervous – me or them! Once guests were seated, the buzz in the theatre was fantastic.

Scholarship Awards Evening 2015

Lesley Munro, Clerk to the Governors, opened the ceremony and began to read out a profile of each scholar before presenting their awards. After hearing about the success of our first scholarship winner, I thought “Wow, Alex has had some great achievements with his photography”, then the second profile was read out and again I reflected “Wow, how has Darby achieved so much with her film making”! By the fifth student, I thought I was in a room with super heroes, they had all done some truly fantastic things!

Scholarship Awards Evening 2015

You can read about some of our 2015 scholars’ achievements, along with the stories of a selection of previous winners, on the Case Studies pages of our Scholarships website.

Professor Tanya Bryon, the University’s Chancellor, handed the awards to the recipients on the red carpet and closed the ceremony with some very inspiring words. We were then treated to a fantastic buffet – definitely not food that I had prepared with my own fair hands! This was delicious and very enjoyable, I must say. I definitely need to add some cheese hedgehogs to my festive shopping list!

Scholarship Awards Evening 2015

Photographer Stuart Rayner was on hand during the evening and took some fantastic photos that I’m sure our scholars and their families will cherish. You can browse through the photos on our Scholarship Awards Evening Gallery. Apologies in advance for any unintentional photobombing by myself in the background!

Scholarship Awards Evening 2015

Returning to work the morning after the awards evening and opening my emails made my day! I received so many messages from scholarship winners saying how much they had enjoyed the evening and thanking me for arranging it. However, in all honesty I shouldn’t be the one receiving the thanks. It’s the scholars and prize winners who deserve the credit since without their hard work, dedication and talent we wouldn’t have the success to celebrate – so, from me to all of them, THANK YOU!

Scholarship Awards Evening 2015

You can check out a small selection of the comments I received below.

“The number of people who excelled in their own area was amazing, the stories were nothing short of inspirational. I had heard that the awards ceremony was the best night of the year and I can now say that this was absolutely correct – it was amazing. It was such an amazing event – with a wonderful buffet afterwards!” – Danny Powis

“The red carpet was intimidating but didn’t half make the evening feel special! Thank you for a great night.” – Bethan Shields

“It was a very well organised evening and it made me feel very proud of what I have achieved. Chancellor Tanya Byron also spoke some amazing and inspiring words which gave it a nice added touch! A lovely and awesome evening! A special night that I’ll never forget!” – Jessica Cain

“What a wonderful awards evening. I was really proud of my daughter and her achievements. Thank you for recognising and celebrating this.” – Parent.

Scholarship Awards Evening 2015

If you’re a prospective or current student reading this and think it could be you who’s treading the red carpet at next year’s Scholarship Awards Ceremony, then you can find out more about the University’s scholarships and check your eligibility using our Scholarships Calculator. Applications and nominations open early next year.

Keara’s summer of a lifetime

Keara Sterling, an Excellence Scholarship winner, caught up with me recently after returning from an amazing summer of volunteering in Fiji and America, as well as visiting Australia. Prepare to be very jealous as she shares her adventures below!

“I was awarded an Excellence Scholarship (for volunteering) at the end of the second year of my BA (Hons) Physical Education and School Sport degree. My love of sport not only inspired me to study the subject at degree level but also inspired me to volunteer in industry. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my passion in sport and motivating others to get involved. For eight hours a week I coach trampolining with ‘Momentum Trampoline Club’ and ‘BEST Gymnastics’ to young people. Four hours of this is dedicated to teaching young people with disabilities.

Not only do I volunteer in the sporting field but for the last few years I have been heavily involved in volunteering in my local community, representing the voice of young people and breaking the barriers created by the media towards young people. One of the roles I did for three years was that of ‘Voice’. This is a local youth forum that would meet for five hours a week to plan and discuss local issues in the community and how we could overcome this. Along with this volunteering, I also volunteered with ‘YAK’ (Youth Action Council) and ‘S.H.A.G’ (Sexual Health Advisory Group).

My voluntary work has enabled me to travel worldwide and visit some amazing places. This summer I was lucky enough to travel not only to America and Australia but also to Fiji. It all started in 2012 when I was nominated to represent the United Kingdom on a project in Bremen, Germany. I went out to Germany for two weeks to volunteer at military heritage sites maintaining the graves from World Wars One and Two. This was an amazing opportunity as it involved people from all over Europe.

In 2014, I was selected to spend summer in Chicago, teaching football or ‘soccer’ as they call it. This was an amazing opportunity for me to develop my subject knowledge on how to deliver a range of engaging sessions to a variety of individuals, from advanced level to beginners. Each week I would be working with a new team/group of young people. This summer I completed a similar project with ‘Challenger’ based in Texas. After completing this project I traveled back to Chicago to meet up with some friends that I made from the previous summer.

After spending three months in Texas, I returned to the UK before flying out to Australia for a a holiday and then on the way back stopped off at Fiji to take part in a Voluntary Physical Education project for four weeks. Here, I worked supporting young people at Mana Island School. I thoroughly loved working with these children and learning new skills such as weaving and attending my first Kava ceremony!

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I am now back in my third and final year and have just found out that I have been accepted on to a PGCE course starting in September 2016 – I cannot wait! I just wonder if next summer will live up to the experiences of this summer – it was definitely a summer of a lifetime!”

Rebecca scores Sports Scholarship and aims to inspire others

Rebecca Foster is one of our most enthusiastic scholars who is constantly helping to promote the scholarships across the University. She has assisted at numerous events this year and I was delighted to open my emails this morning to find she has agreed to share her achievements on this blog!

A footballer with Preston North End Ladies, Rebecca is also a referee and dreams of becoming a Physical Education teacher in the future.

Phew, just talking about all that exercise has left me needing a lie down so, without too much further ado, I’ll hand you over to Rebecca whose love for the beautiful game and Edge Hill University is infectious!

“Hello everyone! My name is Rebecca and I am in my second year at Edge Hill University, studying BA (Hons) Physical Education and School Sport. I have enjoyed every moment of being at University and can see why we were recently awarded ‘THE University of the Year’ because we definitely deserve it!

I was awarded a Sports Scholarship for Prospective Students in 2013. My whole life focuses around football and has done for as long as I can remember. I currently play for Preston North End and we compete in the Northern Women’s Premier League. I am also honoured this year to be the Captain for the Edge Hill University football team. As well as playing, I also referee and I am currently up for promotion to advance in the refereeing levels. One day you will all hopefully be seeing me on Sky Sports and Match of the Day!

I started playing when I was 11 for my local team Cadishead JFC. We were the first girls’ team in our area. I played here until I was 15. During my time with Cadishead JFC, I won South Manchester’s player of the season for two years, which was voted by other team players and managers. I then moved to Altrincham Juniors where I played for 2 seasons before I started playing open age football. At the time this felt like it was a massive leap playing with all of the ‘big girls’.  I started open age football with Irlam Ladies FC and then moved to play with Manchester City Ladies. This was extremely exciting for me, training and playing at a high level and having the opportunity to travel all over the country. Playing at City made me into the player I am today as I had to massively adapt my game. I improved a lot technically and found myself playing in a defensive midfield role, unlike when I was playing in a striker’s position with my local teams, I had to get used to not scoring five a game!

In 2013, I left Manchester City just before they became a Women’s Super League team and went to Preston North End where I am now and absolutely love playing here. I am part of a great club which has fantastic coaching staff, backroom staff and players. Last season we finished 2nd in the league and won the County Cup, beating Blackburn in the final (had to get that bit in there!) This year we are still in two cup competitions, the FA Plate and the County cup, where we play Blackburn (again) in the Semi-final. Two of my friends who are both also Sports Scholars at Edge Hill play for Blackburn, so we have a lot of friendly rivalry!

Preston North End have recently become partners of the “Just a ball game” campaign, raising awareness for LGBT. “Just a ball” aims to raise understanding about equality and diversity, combat discrimination and homophobia in sport. We are all massively proud to be supporting this.

So, back to University. As I have already said I love studying here and after my three years I am hoping to progress on to a PGCE course at Edge Hill, getting me that one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a Physical Education teacher. This will enable me to educate and inspire the next generation to love sport as much as I do!”

Michael walks in fields of gold thanks to scholarship

It’s always great to hear the stories of what our scholars have been up to and how receiving a scholarship has helped them.

An Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students has made a big difference to Michael Scott-Abbott.

Michael has used his scholarship to fund the purchase of equipment to support both his studies and his passion for film and TV. One of the end results is a fantastic new music video to accompany a beautiful cover version of Fields of Gold. Michael will take you on the journey from receiving a scholarship to capturing a new take on a Sting classic in his own words!

“When I’m not studying for a BA (Hons) Film and Television Production degree, I’m working with multiple companies across the North West producing video content that ranges from advertisements, applications (for businesses to apply for grants/funding or get involved with programmes), to short films and music videos.

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Recently, I worked with a company that was commissioned by the National Lottery and Age Concern to produce five short films focusing on the war effort and how that has affected and is perceived from one generation to another. I’ve also spent a lot of time working with a company that is focused on bringing a fantastic range of education theatre, tailored directly for students, to schools across England. With this company I worked on a documentary regarding cyberbullying which was revised into a physical show and performed at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool throughout the summer which was absolutely fantastic (even if I am biased!).

Being awarded with this scholarship at the beginning of my studies, I was given the opportunity to invest in and push my creativity to levels that I wouldn’t have been able to beforehand. I was given the chance to purchase equipment that has proved crucial to my work, both as part of my degree and outside of my studies: equipment that made me available to collaborate and seek out other creative partners. I’ve been extremely lucky because of it and feel it has really helped to enrich my University experience. One of my first projects using the new equipment was just over a year and half ago, filming and producing a music video, with gaining over 1,000 views!

Here’s a couple of photos from the day itself. It was a great day!

As for plans following University, I was lucky enough to attain a graduate job after my tutor, Elke Weissmann, recommended myself and a small number of students to apply for the position. Attending multiple assessments and interviews, I still can’t believe that I was chosen as a Junior Film Production Executive for a firm based in Preston and London.”

Scholarship enables Jenny to fulfil her American dream

It is great seeing our students on campus, it was only the other day that I bumped in to one of our scholarship winners, Jenny Howell, who was recognised for her achievements in creative arts with an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students in 2012.

I often bump into Jenny on campus as she is heavily involved in University life as a student guide, student assistant and student mentor! When Jenny is not working in one of these roles, she is busy working on assignments as she is now in her final year of a BA (Hons) English and History degree.

With the 2014 Scholarship Awards Evening having just taken place, and with a little help from Timehop, Jenny was keen to reminisce about her own presentation night and reflect on how receiving a scholarship has helped her fund two trips to Camp America to share her passion for poetry with others (with a bit of sightseeing thrown in for good measure!).

jenny 4

“So, a few days ago a picture of me and my awards ceremony in 2012 popped up on my Timehop. I can’t believe it’s been just over two years since I went to the Scholarship ceremony and received my scholarship! I was awarded the Excellence Scholarship for my creative writing. I don’t study creative writing, it’s something I do as a hobby. I write poetry, songs and short stories, two of my poems have actually been published! I remember when my first one got published and my mum was reading the letter over my shoulder she started calling everyone shouting, “My daughter, the PUBLISHED poet!” Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to be a writer and being published and receiving this Scholarship for it just reinforces my passion.

Applying for the Scholarship wasn’t easy but I worked really hard for it and I’m so happy I did! I had to write a personal statement (because who doesn’t love that?!) and I had to scan in a selection of my stories and poems to prove my ‘excellence’. Two of my tutors at college helped me with it and I even emailed them a photo of my certificate. My parents and grandparents came to the Scholarship Awards Evening; it was amazing. Other than the certificate, engraved pens and the cheque itself, there was free food (every student’s dream!). The ceremony was like a mini graduation ceremony, I even shook hands with the University’s Chancellor, Tanya Byron, who presented me with the certificate.

The scholarship has given me inspiration to travel to places I didn’t think I would ever get the chance to go to before! Through the money received from my scholarship, I’ve been to America twice as part of the Camp America programme based in Camo Wa-Klo.

Whilst there, apart from writing a lot of poems, I even taught a creative writing workshop with young children aged 6-15. Many of the children had never written a poem before but they were actually really talented at it. I was so proud of inspiring others to try something that I love so much! One of the campers even wrote a poem about me which (not being biased) I think is a beautiful poem!

After completing the camp in 2014, I was lucky enough to travel and see some amazing places in the America including New York, Washington DC, Niagara Falls and Philadelphia.

The scholarship has helped me achieve so much and it will continue to help me. It’s one of my best achievements and I can’t wait to see what else it will bring for me!”

Heptathlete Danielle on her marks for Team GB glory

Edge Hill student and heptathlete Danielle McGifford is biting at the heels of Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Jessica Ennis-Hill as she progresses in her sport. Danielle’s achievements have recently been recognised with the award of a Sports Scholarship for Current Students at Gold level. I caught up with Danielle to discover how she balances training for a gruelling seven events with her studies and to find out more about her experiences competing for Team GB and being selected for Olympic trials.

“I compete in the heptathlon. The easiest way to describe what I do is it’s what Jessica Ennis-Hill is famous for! Seven events over two days, including running, jumping and throwing events. I am a member of Wigan Harriers and the majority of my training is based at Robin Park. Currently I am studying BA (Hons) Physical Education and School Sport, when I’m not at University nine times out of ten I’m training! With eight sessions scheduled over six days I am always kept mad busy but I guess that’s what you get for trying to take up seven events! I am not going to lie; University work is hard to juggle with this lifestyle but I use my time wisely and study whenever I get time and I have just passed my second year with an overall first which I am more than pleased with! I initially started out as a hurdler and a long jumper, where I won the English Schools title in the long jump in 2010. I then decided to take on the challenge of the Heptathlon and made a breakthrough in 2012, where I was ranked 4th in the UK in my age group.

 

Throughout my time competing in this discipline, I have claimed English Schools titles, National titles, BUCS titles, Northern titles, County titles and records. I have competed for Merseyside, England schools, England and Great Britain Juniors and this year the Great Britain Senior European Cup team. This was an incredible experience and one that will stay with me forever. I was only made aware that I was going to fly to Poland two days before as another contestant had to withdraw which them gave me a place in the senior team. Despite having a tough year with injuries, I had to give it a go, and I am glad I did. It is something that I will never forget as I was competing with the best heptathletes in Europe.

Despite what would seem like a good year, competing with the Senior European team, I didn’t manage to tick something off my list that I had been working towards for nearly three years which was to gain selection for the World Junior team. I was involved in a car accident earlier in the year which left me with back, neck and hip problems. I had to cut my season short, preventing me from having my chance to get the score needed to be selected. This was a kick in the teeth and something that was hard to deal with but these experiences make you stronger. Since then I have been working tirelessly on exercises and rehab to get back to my best, hoping to be able to push myself even further to get a shot at making the Senior teams once again.

Probably my greatest achievement to date would have to be being selected to compete in the Olympic trials in Birmingham for the 100m hurdles, in 2012 competing alongside world class athletes including the reigning Olympic champion Jessica Ennis – it was insane! This has definitely affirmed my desire to push myself in this field. Therefore, looking forward to my future development I would love to be able to make my mark on the Great Britain Team in Olympics, World and European Championships and ultimately begin to push towards senior medals.”

Maegan makes a difference in Ukraine

With our new scholars well and truly settled into University life, I am still learning about each and every one of them. Their achievements and experiences are amazing.

Maegan Cleary, the recipient of an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students in recognition of her dedication to volunteering, is five months into a BA (Hons) Children and Young People’s Learning and Development (Primary) degree. Maegan’s account of her volunteering at an orphanage in Ukraine is something I have found both heart-warming and fascinating. Enjoy!

“I have always had a passion for volunteering. I enjoy helping people in need and always appreciate help I receive so I became involved with a couple of projects involving the local community. My volunteering journey began doing things such as helping at a youth club on Friday nights, operating visuals at Sunday morning church services, participating in fundraising events and also volunteering to teach local junior dance classes. I felt fulfilled to help and make people happy, through these I made a large amount of friends, who have all been and continue to be a good influence on my life and an amazing support network.

From volunteering with the church, I decided to join a group called MAD (Make a Difference) where I was a part of a ‘mission’ to literally make a difference to children’s lives. I was given a great opportunity with this charity to travel to Ukraine to help at an orphanage. We travelled around 23 hours to reach the orphanage which was falling to pieces. It was hard to see this, the stories of where the children came from were horrendous, as some of them were runaways, drug takers or simply not wanted anymore. It’s an experience I will never forget.

Maegan Cleary

We did our best to treat the children to things they have never experienced, such as ice skating and going to the local theme park. What shocked me the most was experiencing their first visit to McDonalds – something so simple as fast food which we take for granted is a luxury to these children. Whilst all of these trips were taking place, the adults of the group took the opportunity to surprise the children and orphan leaders by refurbishing the dining hall and entertainment room at the orphanage, removing all of the old unsafe areas and painting and decorating the rooms to become more child friendly.

This work was not unveiled until the last day, however this was not the only surprise in store as all of the participants on the trip had given up their luggage space when flying out for toys, clothes, soaps and lots more. I will never forget the shock and surprise of all the children and staff on the last day, ever so grateful and appreciative for what we had done. I feel I have made a real impact on these children’s lives as well as having made some great friends. I have recently heard some amazing stories from the leaders of some of the children returning to loved ones and becoming adopted.

This was such an exhilarating experience and has really put things into perspective to never take things for granted. So, in 2014 I applied and was accepted into Edge Hill University, where I also applied for a Scholarship in Volunteering, which I was ecstatic in finding out I had been chosen to receive. I am going to use the funds to travel back to the Ukraine, to help the children after the disasters there over the last twelve months.”

Scholarship is icing on the cake for nutrition blogger Val

Third year student Valerie Hutson has been posting for just over a year on her nutrition-themed blog, Nutritionval.com. Writing about the scholarship she received therefore came pretty easily to Val!

Using her scholarship funding to attend a three-day event in London, Val shares her enthusiasm for blogging, all things nutritional and the exciting opportunities that receiving her award has enabled her to pursue.

“I started my BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Health degree in 2012. During my second year, I decided to start a blog about my studies to collect my thoughts and share my passion for the subject. I set up Nutritionval.com in the Christmas holidays 2013 and I’ve been blogging ever since.

nutritionval.com

For the first month or so, the blog didn’t get many visitors but I persevered with it and a year later I’ve published 86 posts and had over 3,880 views from 81 countries.

I’m always looking for something interesting to write about and am fascinated with the link between diet, health and disease. I love the process of researching developments in the field and sharing them with my followers. I enjoy attending nutrition events, as there is always something new to discover. After each event, I take some time to reflect about the key learning points and then blog about it.

When a Scholarships Ambassador came to one of our lectures, I found out about the Excellence Scholarships for Current Students which reward excellence in a variety of areas, including ICT and enterprise. I’m so glad I took the time to fill out the application form and I was delighted when Zoe, the Scholarships Administrator, called to say I’d been successful.

With my scholarship funding, I attended the ‘Food Matters Live’ Conference in London, a new three-day event accredited by the Association for Nutrition focusing on the relationship between food, health and nutrition. There were lots of lectures, seminars and an exhibition. I even got the opportunity to ask my dissertation question to a distinguished panel including Dr Susan Jebb (Professor of Diet and Population Health in the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford), Dr David Haslam (Head of the National Obesity Forum) and Dr Angela Donkin (Institute of Health Equity, UCL).

Food Matters Live

I was also able to fund a place at the ‘Nutrition Society Winter Meeting’, again in London, focusing on nutrition and age-related muscle loss, sarcopenia and cachexia. I met loads of interesting people there, including some I follow on Twitter! I really do appreciate the Scholarship Award as I wouldn’t have been able to attend without it.

Developing my blog has helped improve my IT skills and to build on what I’ve learned about social media. I am now volunteering with the Skelmersdale Community Food initiative to help review the contents of their website.

Setting up a blog is relatively easy, even for a mature student! I use a WordPress blog that is ‘mapped’ to my own domain name. The hard part is finding the time to keep it going but I think blogging about your degree subject can really enhance your studies and help support the learning process.

I would encourage other students to take some time out to apply for one of the many scholarships. Meeting the other scholars, and being presented with my award by Edge Hill’s Chancellor Professor Tanya Byron at December’s awards evening was definitely the greek yogurt frosting on the skinny carrot cake!”