Making an impact – UWE Bristol’s Better Together Fund

Article written by UWE Bristol fundraiser Linda Ajam-David

It's been an exciting time for the Better Together Fund. Each December, the fund is open to funding applications from staff, students and alumni to support projects they are passionate about. We are able to do this thanks to donations from alumni, staff and friends, so thank you! This year, we are funding 28 projects in total. Listed below are just a few examples of what UWE Bristol is funding this year:

Community Grants
Awarded to projects which involve UWE Bristol students who volunteer in the local community, make a global impact, support a sustainable future and broaden educational horizons

The South West Scorpions Wheelchair Basketball Club (SWSBC) was set up at the request of disabled children and their families and has since changed the lives of many athletes. Last year, we helped the club with the costs of running 22 sessions, each with 120 participants. Many parents of participants reported that they had seen, in their children, an increase in self-confidence, an improved attitude about their disability, increased independence and improved balance/coordination. Their grant this year will help the club to purchase more wheelchairs, which will help them to increase the number of people that participate and have an impact on more lives. UWE students are involved with every stage of the project including the delivery of the school sessions.

“We are very grateful for the Better Together Fund grant that the South West Scorpions received from UWE Bristol. This grant has enabled us to engage local children with disabilities in wheelchair basketball. We use sport as a tool to develop crucial life skills and build confidence needed to succeed in school and live independently. The club also has a pathway for those that want to play competitively and realise them dreams of becoming a Paralympian,” said Ben Humphrey, Sports Coordinator, SWSBC.

Sharp Shotz utilises animation, film and music to engage disadvantaged young people and helps them work together to raise awareness about a range of important issues, such as drug and knife crime and broadens their experience and skills. The project will be overseen by Bristol charity IDEAL, which creates opportunities for people to learn and to use what they have learnt to benefit both themselves and their community. The young people taking part will develop skills in film making, music production, presenting and research. Their grant will be used to purchase materials for the project and enable access to young people from disadvantaged communities.

Community Quidditch Tournament
Quidditch was originally a fictional sport, as outlined in Harry Potter novels. It has since become a fully-fledged sport with over 700 officially registered teams around the world. With their Better Together Fund grant, the Quidditch Society will go into local schools and teach pupils the basics, reaching out to children and young people who are not “traditionally“ sporty. These schools will then combine to take part in a Quidditch tournament, organised and run by the society, where all schools meet and compete and have fun. The UWE Bristol students involved will gain valuable skills in time management, organisation, planning, advertising, promotion, teaching, working with children and project management.

Student Experience Grants
Awarded to staff and/or students to support extra-curricular or academic activities that enhance the student experience

A Feminist Society is being launched at UWE Bristol, where participants can discuss and engage ideas such as women’s oppression, patriarchal society and sexism. Members of the society will benefit as it will encourage them to look at the issues faced by women today and enlighten their understanding of what they can do to help change this.

UWE Bristol Mature Students Network
The aim of this project is to host an alternative Welcome Week series of events specifically for mature students at UWE Bristol, providing opportunities where mature students can meet one another at events tailored specifically to them, such as a welcome weekend lunch, coffee morning and films night.

Varsity Series
We are helping with the costs of T-shirts for students who take part in the Varsity Series in 2013. The Series includes over 1,000 athletes participating in over 21 sports and is a mix of fun and rivalry between UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol. The money raised during the events will go towards Inspirational Friends, where UWE Bristol alumnae Hannah Lawton and Jessie Vanbeck will be rowing across the Atlantic to raise money for Myton Hospice and Jo Cervical Cancer Trust, in memory of a friend who lost her battle against cervical cancer in 2012.

Community Self Defence Classes
The Kickboxing Society at UWE Bristol will offer free classes in self-defence and conflict avoidance to pupils of local schools. Over the course of three one-hour sessions, pupils will learn about the psychology of aggression and will be taught basic strikes and kicks when de-escalation of a situation isn’t possible. The students working on the project will develop skills in time management, training delivery, working with young people and organisation.

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