University of Chelmsford student helps others with social mobility

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Professor Sir Les Ebdon and Matt Western with winner Hannah Branton.

Submitted by Anglia Ruskin University

A student from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Chelmsford has received a national commendation following her work to help people with a higher education care background.

Hannah Branton, 26, who is currently studying social work at university, won top honors in the Student of the Year category of the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) awards at a ceremony at Portcullis House, London .

The NEON Awards recognize success and achievement in widening participation in higher education for people from disadvantaged backgrounds and promoting social mobility.

Hannah, who lives in Witham, Essex, worked tirelessly during an internship with ARU’s Schools and Colleges Engagement Team to help improve the university experience for people from a care setting.

Hannah produced an informational video for academics about sources of support for experienced care students and worked to improve the provision of support for experienced care students living in halls of residence.

The dedicated student also helped establish the peer network, Stronger Together; a platform for experienced people to come together, as well as to get involved in the organization of summer schools and initiation days, and ad hoc projects on money, advice, graduation and employability.

Hannah said: “I had a legal career before going to university, but chose to study social work because I wanted to empower people who are often marginalized and disadvantaged.

“ARU has supported me through adversity and allowed me to thrive in higher education. I am extremely proud to have received this distinction and I hope I have made a difference.


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