Why We Invest- The Impact -

Transforming lives and inspiring change

In the Strategic Plan for 2015 – 2020 we have put great emphasis on social impact: doing things that help both people and the environment.

Uniquely for a university in the UK, we have also committed to working with local partners to make positive differences to Northamptonshire in the key areas of:

  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Education
  • Culture, Heritage and the Environment
  • Enterprise and Innovation

Our 2015-2020 strategy outlines four high-impact social challenges that the University has committed to deliver. These challenges extend our core value competences in teaching and learning, research and social enterprise for the betterment of Northamptonshire and the wider world.

Our students and staff are committed to meeting these challenges and your investment will support our people in their mission.

Click here to view our Social Impact report for 2014/2015

You can find out more about each of the four challenges
that we have committed to below.

What this means

We are committed to ensuring that the children and young people of Northamptonshire have the best possible start to life.

How we will do this

We commit to supporting research into the importance of intervening early for children and young people to improve life outcomes.

We will support our staff and students to work with the community to develop sustainable projects.

Challenge 1

Current Projects

By investing in events and projects like these, together we can make Northamptonshire the best county in the UK for children and young people to flourish and learn. You can invest in this project and others like this by making a gift to our research fund.

STEM: Outreach activity for students.

Science students with a passion for demonstrating how much fun science can be are mentored and given the opportunity to work at local schools, promoting STEM activities and working with young people. By undertaking these opportunities students develop many skills; communication, numeracy and confidence, while inspiring a future generation of scientists.

STEM to STEAM: Digital Leaders reconnecting subjects through technology and the arts in primary education.

The STEM to STEAM project runs regular ‘Inspire’ network meetings for teachers exploring interdisciplinary curriculum planning supported by innovative use of technology and the arts. Alongside this they manage a team of volunteer student Digital Leaders who carry out short projects in schools using a range of equipment including iPads, animation equipment and greenscreens.

Library and Learning Services and community reading groups: Story Seekers.

We have engaged with the local community by establishing a number of reading groups to encourage a love of reading. The sessions increase participants’ confidence and self-esteem and enhancing their skills. Groups have been set up with people with drug and alcohol issues at CAN, a women’s refuge, NVCFR, with the mental health charity, MIND and with young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities at The Beehive.

HESA Aspiration and Achievement – research.

In 2014, the University’s Centre for Employability and Engagement (UCEE) undertook a research project to look at the lasting effects of Aspiration and Achievement (AA) days held at the University of Northampton. Local primary school children – at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 and from deprived areas of the town – were invited to the University for an AA day, and after the visit showed signs of improvement in effort and attitude. There was an increase to 54% of pupil respondents’ attitudes to trying hard at school after the AA day, and 63% of responding students said they wanted to come to university more following their visit. The survey also found 33% of them changed their career aspirations following the day.

The teachers’ feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with one teacher commenting that the students had “their eyes opened to another world”.

What this means

We are committed to raise the health and wellbeing status of the residents of Northamptonshire.

How we will do this

We will support research into cancer immunology, psychological wellbeing, and medical genetics, through to projects that involve the practical aspects offered by the Institute of Health and Wellbeing.

We are committed to work alongside a number of Centres supporting their health and wellbeing research.

Challenge 2

Current Projects

By investing in events and projects like these, together we can make Northamptonshire the leading county in the UK for health and wellbeing. You can invest in this project and others like this by making a gift to our research fund.

Institute for Health and Wellbeing

This institute is a centre of excellence working with health and social care providers, commissioners and other partners to support research, relevant to health and wellbeing.

Social pedagogy in residential care: a case study of curriculum design for a programme of continuous professional development.

In 2012, an evaluation of the care approach of a local authority children’s home in the East Midlands was completed. The School of Social Sciences developed and designed a curriculum of continuous professional development for residential care workers.

A priority is to re-engage the young people in the next stage of the process and to ensure that systemic change can be achieved.

Photography and Changemaker.

Changemaking photography combines the ideas around social innovation and contemporary image-making to improve society. Students are encouraged to engage in work experience opportunities as part of their Professional Development, and photography students engage others through their practice; for example, through their work as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Champions and Ambassadors, empowering them to be creative professionals and Changemakers.

What this means

We will ensure that the culture and heritage of Northamptonshire impacts positively on the community.

How we will do this

We will support community projects and research aligned to the arts, humanities, leather manufacturing, fashion and culture.

We will generate opportunities for our students to build and become integral parts of Northamptonshire while building a legacy.

Challenge 2

Current projects

By investing in projects like this, together we can build the cultural and heritage traditions of Northamptonshire into world class attractions. You can invest in this project and others like this by making a gift to our research fund.

Follow Northampton

Follow Northampton - an interactive website and app - seeks to celebrate the culture and heritage of Northamptonshire. Funded by two successful bids to the Teaching and Learning enhancement fund, Follow Northampton has brought together students and staff from history, architectural technology, education and graphic design to create an IOS mobile app that ‘maps’ sites of cultural and historical interest.

Follow Northampton has allowed us to explore new ways of thinking about ‘what is heritage’ and provided ‘live’ workplace experience opportunities for undergraduate students.

What this means

We are committed to growing enterprises in Northamptonshire.

How we will do this

We will support our students to enhance their communication and management skills, develop entrepreneurial opportunities and lead the way in Aspiration and Achievement Research

We will enhance research, entrepreneurial flair and enhance social impact across Northamptonshire.

Challenge 2

Current projects

By investing in projects like this, together we can make Northamptonshire the best county in the UK to start, build and run a business. You can invest in this project and others like this by making a gift to our research fund.

Geography +

In autumn 2014 Geography students attended a guest lecture from a representative of a charity, Wells for India (www.wellsforindia.org), a not-for-profit organisation specialising in sustainable water. Following the lecture, students worked in groups to design, carry out and evaluate a fundraising activity. To date the funds that have been raised total over £650, which will be used to provide bio-sand filters to improve water quality for poor households in rural Rajasthan. In spring 2015 the students designed and delivered a Geography ‘master class’ to local school children.

Changemaker Plus Enterprise Bootcamp

The Innovation Fund recently provided funding for the inaugural Changemaker Bootcamp; sixth formers from three Northamptonshire schools took part in a three-day intensive course to introduce the concept of Social Enterprise.

This initiative has now evolved into the ‘Changemaker Innovation Generator’ which is a package designed to provide an introduction to the Changemaker certificate and as an introduction to the Social Venture Builder course.

You can help us make the difference