Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award 2022 – Meet the Finalists!

We were delighted to have seven outstanding alumni put forward by members of staff as deserving of the Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award for their exceptional voluntary contribution to the life of the University.

Following an alumni vote and review by a panel of judges from across the University, we are pleased to announce our finalists, with the winner will be announced at the Alumni Volunteer Gala Dinner on Saturday 18 June.

Finalist 1. Ibrahim Fofanah

BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy  – 2021

Ibrahim was one of the two founding members of ‘Bridging the Gap to Leadership placement’, aimed at improving the attainment/ awarding gap for our Black, Asian, Mixed heritage and Ethnic Minority students, in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Social Care. The programme offers virtual placements, to create resources to encourage more inclusive and equitable learning environments within placement settings. Ibrahim involvement includes:

  • Representing CCCU at many national and local conferences on Closing our Attainment Gap and promoting the work of Bridging the Gap to Leadership
  • Being available to support current students on Bridging the Gap to Leadership placements
  • Working collaboratively with our partners from the University of Brighton and placement providers to improve the experiences of our BAME students within Practice Education.

Ibrahim’s presentations have received very positive feedback and have opened up conversations around race and equality within education for our students. Now a full time Physiotherapist, Ibrahim remains actively engaged in this project as well as contributing to the future direction of CCCU’s Closing the Gap programme.

Finalist 2: Ian Blackmore

BA (Hons) History– 1997

Ian graduated from CCCU in 1997 and runs his own successful specialist events management business. However, Ian has continued to offer his time, advice and support to both the University and Christ Church Students’ Union (where Ian was Captain and President of Men’s Rugby and Sabbatical Officer – Vice President). This includes:

  • Offering sound business advice to the University about running large events of high reputational profile e.g. Diamond Jubilee Light up the Night Launch event, working with both the Alumni Relations Team and the Vice-Chancellor’s Office
  • Utilising contacts to support practical elements of events, often at short notice e.g. hiring of equipment, people etc, and using business contacts to promote business development opportunities
  • Continuing to be engaged and involved in the SU, both supporting and mentoring individual Sabbatical Officers and Leadership Teams with advice and guidance, as well as co-leading the ‘Friends of CCSU’ Sabbatical Officer Alumni Group.

Ian is always willing to support the University in any way he can. His advice and knowledge of event management and local businesses, along with his absolute commitment to the Students’ Union is highly valued.

Finalist 3: Ian Rowden

BA (Hons) Primary Education – 2004
Leadership Course – 2010

Within Ian’s role as the Headteacher of Blean Primary School, he has developed a strategic direction that is written into the school improvement planning, to work increasingly with CCCU in supporting and contributing to Initial Teacher Education (ITE). Ian considers this to be a moral purpose of schools in supporting the necessary recruitment, education and retention of those new to teaching. This commitment includes:

  • Leading an annual lecture for PGCE Primary students ahead of their placements advising on managing behaviour, strategies and expectations in the classroom
  • Enabling and funding teachers from Blean to lead an annual lecture on approaches to planning effectively – this was initially introduced during the pandemic to support final placement students when school placements were suspended
  • Welcoming additional students into school to enable them to carry out research and further develop their understanding of high-quality teaching and the impact on learning
  • Supporting student teachers on a range of ITE courses every year through providing multiple placements and mentoring support.

Ian has a nurturing approach to working with student teachers and is supportive in the way he advises and guides students in the sessions he provides. Ian has a passion for education and is committed to supporting and inspiring the next generation of student teachers.

Our thanks again to the other nominees:

Oluwatomisin (Tomisin) Olumoroti

BA (Hons) Media & Communications – 2021

Tomisin has been invaluable in supporting GradForce, an Office for Students (OfS) funded project created to help maximise students’ employability potential and access jobs in Kent and Medway. It has a particular focus on underrepresented groups within the University to level the playing field and ensure that all students leave CCCU with equal opportunity to move into graduate-level employment.

Syd Heather

Syd Heather

BA (Hons) Film, Radio And Television Studies –  2012

Since graduating, Syd has built a career as an independent director and producer. His list of nominated short films and documentaries is very impressive but it is the work he does for Film, Radio and Television (FRTV) and Film Production students that deserves recognition, including guest speaker presentations, panel events and creating job/work opportunities for our students.

Amber Vellacott

BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism – 2017

Amber makes the daunting art of digital networking come alive. Working for a digital marketing company, Amber continues to support the University and final year students, sharing not only the reality of moving successfully from university to the workplace but also explains how to build and develop a career.

Maria Leonora Halas, Christian Smith & Sophie Grant

MariaBSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance 2011
ChristianBSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance 2012
Sophie – BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance 2011

Unusually this year we have a nomination for a team of three alumni, all of whom volunteered to mentor our third year undergraduate accounting students as part of our mentoring pilot programme MASS (Mentoring Accounting Students for Success). All three alumni have been a critical component in delivering MASS at Christ Church Business School.