At Staffordshire University we have launched a new degree called ‘Action on Poverty and Hardship’ which is a practical course, supporting students to develop skills in how to positively impact people’s lives, communities and contribute to policy reform.
Our course is co-designed with experts in tackling poverty from national organisations such as the Trussell Trust who oversee a network of foodbanks, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Rethinking Poverty, through to organisations working more locally in Stoke-on-Trent, such as Expert Citizens, the Honeycomb Group, GingerBread and Stoke All the Small Things.
One of the practical things we are doing this year with our first cohort of students, is to undertake a mental health and poverty awareness raising campaign in the city. This has been funded through Health Watch, with Staffordshire University contributing academic involvement and library services have providing their facilities free of charge to support the project. In the month of March, we are at various community locations running workshops for community members to creatively explore their mental well-being and coping strategies for when life gets financially challenging. We would love you to come along and/or invite others. Maybe you are working with people who might welcome an opportunity to meet others and to learn from other people’s coping strategies? The sessions will involve some small group conversations and uses a series of worksheets that can be completed individually with support available from Staffordshire University students and staff.
Course Leader Julie Tipping said “This is an important project and great opportunity for our students to begin working and consulting with our local communities to identify and highlight issues that matter to them. This feeds into our course ethos of raising the voices of those who feel voiceless, while simultaneously helping identify and promote the expertise held by those who experience mental ill-health, poverty and other forms of hardship.”.
Sherry, one of our Action on Poverty and Hardship students said “for me I’m myself gaining more knowledge about mental health and the different services that are available”.
Sarah Page, one of the teaching team members on the degree said “we are all really excited about supporting local community members to think about how they cope with challenging circumstances with regards to their mental health. When we are financially struggling, it is normal to feel anxious and depressed. We want to help people think about how they process their emotional well-being when money is tight.”
Here is the schedule of events: –
Tuesday 15 March | 10.00am-12.00pm
West End Centre & Café, 405 London Road, Stoke on Trent, ST4 5AW
Wednesday 16 March | 10.00am-12.00pm
Blurton Hub, 7 Ingestre Square, Stoke-on-Trent, ST3 3JT
Thursday 17 March | 10.00am-12.00pm
The Bridge Centre, Birches Head Road, Stoke on Trent, ST2 8DD
Friday 18 March | 10.00am-12.00pm
Bentilee Library, Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre, Dawlish Drive, Stoke-on-Trent, ST2 0EU
Tuesday 22 March | 12.30pm-2.30pm
Swan Bank Church, Swan Square, Burslem, ST6 2AA
Friday 25 March | 1.00-3.00pm – this event will also include guest speakers!
Catalyst Building, Staffordshire University, Leek Road, ST4 2RU
Please read this flier to find out more about the events.