The relationship between City, University of London and the Worshipful Company of Saddlers dates back to 1894 when the Company provided financial support to establish the Northampton Institute, the forerunner to City. Over the years, the University has remained extremely grateful to the Company for its continued support which has helped to transform the lives of many of our students.
This year’s grant from the Company has been used to fund a post in the award-winning Saddlers’ Student Centre, entry to The Lord Mayor’s Show, the Robert Kitchin Award, two Studentships, four Bursaries, support for the Students’ Union, and support for our Emergency Covid-19 Fund.
Indeed, despite the global pandemic, keeping our students safe and healthy remains City’s priority. Online learning has been fully implemented and students are responding well.
The report provides a brief summary of another successful, albeit quite different year in City’s history and the positive impact of the financial support generously provided by the Saddlers’ Company.
Review of the year 2019/20
Lord Mayor’s Show
City staff and students once again took to the streets of the City of London on Saturday 9th November 2019 to participate in the annual Lord Mayor’s Show procession. This year the group was captured in the BBC coverage.
The Lord Mayor’s Show has been a staple of London culture since 1215, and City has been part of the event for over half a century.
Robert Kitchin Award
City was delighted to present Jelena Culum, the International Visa Advice & Compliance Manager, (Student & Academic Services), with the annual Robert Kitchin Award.
The Award celebrates professional and academic staff who work behind the scenes to support one or more aspects of the student journey (from recruitment to alumni).
Jelena has made significant contributions since joining City which includes establishing a network across London universities to share best practice and intelligence related to interactions with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
City proudly sponsors Product of Islington Award
In February this year, the annual Islington Education Awards was held at LSO St Luke’s, with City sponsoring the Product of Islington category for the second year in a row. The ceremony recognised the achievements of professionals working in the Islington schools nominated by peers for demonstrating ‘ambition, innovation and excellence’.
City’s Sarah Wood, Widening Participation and Outreach Manager, presented the award which celebrates a member of staff who grew up in Islington and continues to work in education in the borough.
Leanne Aitken, Professor of Critical Care at City, University of London, supported the education and training efforts of nurses at the newly developed super hospital in East London.
Dubbed the ‘NHS Nightingale Hospital’, the temporary facility is the first of its kind in the UK and has the capacity to treat up to 4,000 patients in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Professor Aitken was asked by Julie Combes from Health Education England (HEE) to join the team setting up NHS Nightingale and to provide training and education to healthcare staff who would be based there.
Professor Aitken has had a varied career in critical care nursing, including roles in clinical management, education and research.
Her research focuses on interventions that can be delivered during and after critical illness or injury to improve recovery after time in the intensive care unit, decision-making practices of critical care nurses and a range of clinical practice issues.
Professor Aitken said:
“The importance of developing staff to be confident and prepared to provide safe patient care for these very vulnerable patients should not be underestimated. The team developing and providing the training comes from many different backgrounds and have shown enormous enthusiasm, dedication and creativity, and it is rewarding to see the achievements.”
London’s ExCel Centre, a venue best known for hosting exhibitions and high-profile sporting events, was transformed into a hospital space in just nine days.
The space is staffed by NHS professionals, student nurses, medical students and former health professionals who have come out of retirement.
With the National Health Service facing an unprecedented challenge in the face of Covid-19, students on nursing and midwifery courses from across the UK have been given the option to spend all or part of their study time in clinical placement, supporting the NHS.
Hundreds of students from City, University of London in their final or second year of study have answered the call, and elected to undertake extended clinical placements within the NHS.
The arrangements, agreed by the Chief Nursing Officers for the four UK nations, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Council of Deans of Health, the Royal Colleges and trade unions and the UK Department of Health and Social Care, outline how pre-registration nursing and midwifery students in the last six months of the final (third) year of their study have the option of undertaking a clinical placement, full-time within the NHS.
Postgraduate students not in their final six months of study, and second year undergraduate students, have the option of contributing 80% of their study time to work on a clinical placement.
The arrangements offer provision for the relevant training and supervision that the students who choose to go on placement will need, and address the need for all students to receive the support required to arrive at the best decision for them, given their individual circumstances. At City, students are offered one-to-one calls with staff to help achieve this.
The Saddlers’ Student Centre
The awarding winning Saddlers’ Student Centre at City is dedicated to providing first class front-line support to all students and prospective students.
The Student Adviser team is made up of two Student Advisers, with one of these posts being very generously funded by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers. In the last academic year, the team managed a total of 16,198 face-to-face enquiries. This is over 10,000 more than when the Centre first opened in September 2017. The team are always looking to adapt their services to the different student needs that arise with each new academic year. In the last year the team have offered twice weekly online chat sessions via social media channels and recently virtual one-to-one support and guidance appointments. The demand has been overwhelming and again shows that the return on investment in the Student Adviser team is highly valued by City, University of London’s 19,000+ student body.
The Saddlers’ Student Centre is comprised of four other teams:
The Student Communications team produce the all-student bi-monthly newsletter, Campus News, which ensures students are receiving the right information at the right time. The feedback from students is that Campus News is extremely popular and helps students feel a part of the City community. The Accommodation team works very closely with the external suppliers of City’s Halls of Residences. This vital relationship ensures that those students placed in Halls are safe, secure and happy in their new home. The International Student Advice team have accomplished amazing work this year, by having the highest number of international students obtain visas for September 2019. This means the Home Office refusal rate was 0.45% compared to 3.17% in 2016 which is a great achievement.
The Saddlers’ Student Centre continues to work diligently to uphold the core principles of support and guidance that we hope make our benefactors very proud.
Students’ Union – Study Well Campaign
City’s Students’ Union continues to be proud of the contribution it makes to the student experience through the delivery of Study Well, thanks to generous funding from the Saddlers.
In the January 2020 Study Well campaign, the Union continued to try new approaches to interacting with students, such as Massage Monday and Tuesday Trims (a collaboration with the Hermes Project to provide free haircuts to students while raising awareness around Men’s Mental Health). The Dog Cuddle Room continued to be fully booked, with students reporting that they really appreciated the event and felt less stressed. Overall, the feedback was very positive.
Following the escalation of the UK’s response to Covid-19, the Students’ Union took the decision that the May Study Well campaign would be delivered remotely.
The Union planned a range of online activities from a Virtual Bake Off to online workshops focusing on public speaking and time-management adapted to Covid-19, as well as extra support around the research process during the epidemic for postgraduate students. The Union has also continued to collaborate with City Student Support Services to offer a wider range of activities and resources to students.
Saddlers’ PhD Studentships
The Saddlers’ funding of a PhD student from the School of Health Sciences* and an MPhil Psychology student from the School of Arts and Social Sciences supports City’s commitment to academic excellence and enhances our research profile. Progress reports from these students can be found in Appendix C.
Saddlers’ Undergraduate Bursaries
Thanks to the generous support of the Saddlers, we have been able to support four undergraduate students and the difference that this financial support has made has been significant;
‘I have been a recipient of a Saddlers’ Bursary for the past 4 years, and it has helped me immensely during my time at City. The bursary has allowed me to purchase essential study materials and has also helped me to live a less stressful life. If I had not received the bursary, I truly believe I would have had to work at least 15 hours a week in order to maintain the same quality of life as I do now. With the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, students are now working from home and the laptop I purchased 2 years ago with my bursary is now more invaluable than before. I have almost come to the end of my time at City, but I will forever be grateful for the generous support I have received from the Saddlers during my time here.’ Aidan Bohill, Engineering student
‘I was honoured to be one of this year’s recipients of the Saddlers’ Bursary. As a final year commuting undergraduate student, this bursary greatly lessened my financial burden, and as a result, I was able to reduce the number of hours that I worked part-time to focus on my studies, my dissertation and my job applications. I look forward to continuing to stay connected with the Company.’ Neema Kalidas, Actuarial Science student
‘I cannot express gratitude enough to the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, for the charity and hospitality they have shown me this past academic year. The bursary provided has offered a wealth of opportunities I would otherwise never have had access to. With the funds, I have been able to focus fully on my studies and I look forwarding to graduating later this year with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and plan to eventually become a counsellor. Funding support like this makes such a difference to students so thank you! ‘ Ellen Binnington, Psychology student
‘I am very grateful to the Saddlers for their provision of this bursary. It has allowed me to purchase books and equipment towards my course and has also contributed towards my travel costs to attend my lectures, clinics and practical sessions. Thank you once again for your generosity, it made a real difference to my final year at City.’ Maariya Khan, Optometry student
City Emergency Covid-19 Fund support
Thanks to the generosity of the Saddlers, City has been able to support over 15 PhD students in dire financial need as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This funding has been vital to these students facing financial hardship during these unprecedented times. We are very grateful to the Saddlers for allowing us to repurpose these funds which were originally due to be disbursed as travel bursaries.
Engagement with the Saddlers
The relationship between City and the Saddlers continues to flourish.
In November, Prime Warden Nicholas Mason visited City for a tour of the campus and to meet with President, Professor Sir Paul Curran. Later that month, City hosted the first annual Dinner at its Courtyard Café. Guests received an update from Sir Paul on the developments at City and heard from City’s Students’ Union President, Tuna Kunt about the Study Well campaign which is generously funded by the Saddlers.
At the second Dinner, hosted by the Saddlers at Saddlers’ Hall in February, our Saddlers-funded PhD student Abbie Moran spoke about her area of research, Developmental Language Disorder. The Dinner provided an opportunity for students and staff to receive a tour of Saddlers’ Hall and to learn more about Livery Companies and the vital role that they play in the City of London.
City was very disappointed not to be able to host its annual Supporter Event at Saddlers’ Hall in March owing to the Covid-19 pandemic but we are extremely grateful to the Saddlers for their most generous offer of hospitality and hope to be able to reschedule the event at some point in the future.
On behalf of our many students and staff at City, we would like to thank the Company for their continued support over the past twelve months.
Director, Development and Alumni Relations
25th June 2020
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