Annual Conference 2019
The NASMA Annual Conference 2019 was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Manchester on Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th June 2019. The conference theme was 'It's Complicated!'. Thank you to everybody involved in helping to make this another hugely successful conference. As always, feedback will be taken on board and your comments will be reflected in future events. The conference workshop slides and other resources are available to NASMA members and can be found in the Members' Area of the website. Photos from the Gala Dinner and Awards presentation will be posted here in due course, but in the meantime, the winners of our prestigious awards are listed below, along with the Judges' comments. Finally, thank you to everyone who bought a conference raffle ticket. As always, the money raised goes to a good cause and this year we are pleased to have donated £131 to the Samaritans - click here to view their thank you letter.
Student Money Adviser of the Year - Lisa Burns, Northern Regional College
- Supporting FE students in their studies and on to HE is an overlooked aspect of money advisers' work so good to see this here and Lisa has risen to new challenges well.
- Lisa sounds like an invaluable asset to NRC. She personifies going above the call of duty. I am particularly impressed by the fact that she has set up relationships and workshops with local universities so that students are equipped for the financial challenges of university.
- Through raising the profile of the Student Finance unit on Twitter and Facebook, Lisa is clearly taking the necessary steps to ensure that important information is reaching students in the spaces that they occupy (eg the social media world). Some good examples of collaboration, including with other universities.
Fund/Bursary Administrator of the Year – Andrea Simpson, Manchester Metropolitan University
- Though Andrea is a manager, not an administrator, she has clearly brought some changes to MMU's support fund to improve it.
- Strong work to ensure key groups are supported and the service adapts to users' needs. It's great that she has honed in on those from 'widening participation' backgrounds. Individuals from such demographics often need financial support services the most. The 'progression premium' concept is therefore brilliant. Her ideas are very innovative and cut out unnecessary bureaucracy - a prime example is the day to day support EU students are able apply for.
- She has certainly demonstrated both fairness and proactivity by being actively aware of the additional financial hardships that certain groups may face.”
Best Partnership Award – University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN)
- Demonstrates how a merger of services can have a beneficial effect and make for a more holistic service. I also liked the partnership with campus security.
- This appears an extremely effective merge. I particularly like the longer opening hours. It can take a lot of courage for a student to pluck up the confidence to discuss their financial pressures, so the fact that services are now available at the weekends and evenings means that the university have a higher likelihood of being able to 'catch' the student at the precise moment they need the support. The fact that this has led to things such as student wellbeing support all now being tied in together with financial support means that a holistic service is truly being provided. Well done to Central Lancashire.
Innovative Activity Award – University of the West of England (Student Services Inclusivity Project)
- Service needs sometimes aren't considered through the lens of student identities and this showed real innovation in understanding and adapting service design.
- This seems to be a staff and student led project that has resulted in tangible changes in the way the team work. It has also uncovered additional financial issues that LGBTQ+ may face.
- This is certainly very innovative. The LGBTQ+ issue of family disapproval is such an important issue, but one that, until now, I had never seen addressed from a financial perspective. The 'Being Vegan on a Budget' idea is also great. University is a time for self-discovery, and students taking an interest in what they are actually putting inside their bodies often forms a large part of this. It's good to see the university supporting this. Perhaps more importantly - initiatives such as 'Being Vegan on a Budget' spread awareness amongst a broad range of students about the financial support the university can offer. This means that, if the student one day finds themselves in a dire financial situation, there is a higher likelihood of them automatically thinking to turn to the university for support.
Financial Capability Engagement - University of the West of England
- Commended for working across a number of university departments.
- Good relationship building with local organisations to source good prizes that students will be motivated by.
- Often, the places that students can turn to for financial support are hidden. UWE have promoted it on the most visible of places - such as email signatures, induction talks and accommodation online obligatory inductions.
- The Financial Capability module is an excellent idea. Even if students choose not to embark on the module, its very presence affirms to students that there is support/advice available at the university if they find themselves in financial hardship. This is great.
The sixth award category is Region of the Year and is judged by the NASMA Chair and NASMA Office Manager.
Region of the Year 2019 – Wales
The sheer number and range of awards received by the region this year takes your breath away, to list but a few:
- Aberystwith University won the What Uni Award for Postgraduate Study
- University of Wales Trinity & St David won the What Uni Award for courses and lecturers
- Bangor University won the What Uni award for Clubs & Societies
- University of South Wales won a Guardian University Award
Then there were the award nominations:
- Bangor and Swansea Universities were nominated for Best Student Support Award
- Beryl Dixon from Glyndwr University was nominated for Best Operational Staff Member (as voted by students).
- Gwenda Blackmore from Bangor University was nominated for Best Student Service Department.
And some of the other great initiatives taking place:
- Cardiff University's Winnie Wednesdays (for those of you that don't know, Winnie is a dog whose owner Kate works with PAT volunteers visiting care homes and, under the guidance of Denise Brereton (also a PAT certified handler) she has now extended this support to students, offering a hands-on approach (or should that be a paws-on approach) for students seeking advice on a range of issues.
- Winnie has also helped run a project on Money Mules.
- Swansea University are running Money@CampusLife Staff Roadshows.
- As a region they may be small, but they are very much loved... for their commitment, dedication and hard work. Very worthy winners of NASMA's Region of the Year Award 2019.
Finally, there is an additional Award that was introduced in 2018 – The NASMA Chair’s Award. This is awarded by Stephen McCartney, NASMA Chair.
NASMA Chair’s Award – Catherine Pickles, NASMA Office Manager
The Chair’s Comments
- The NASMA Chair’s Award is being given to someone who has supported the Chair and has given a huge amount of support to NASMA as an organisation, above and beyond the call of duty.
- The award this year is going to someone who really, in my eyes is the glue of the organisation – someone who keeps the organisation moving positively and in the right direction. This person has kept me right since I took up the role of Chair and continually goes the extra mile to uphold the reputation of NASMA and make sure I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing! The award is going to someone really special who works tirelessly in the background and doesn’t receive the recognition she deserves. Someone who is a true professional and always has the organisation’s best interests at heart.
Thanks go to Future Finance for sponsoring the prestigous NASMA Money Advice Awards 2019. And our congratulations go to all our award winners and nominees.
Update: July 2019