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University wins national diversity and inclusion award

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Published on 30 November 2022

The University of Sunderland's 'We Care' team  Social Mobility Project Award
The University of Sunderland's 'We Care' team Social Mobility Project Award

The University of Sunderland has won the prestigious Social Mobility Project Award at the 2022 Inclusive Awards.

The University's 'We Care' team was presented with their award by renowned newsreader, TV presenter and journalist Naga Munchetty at the 2022 Inclusive Awards event which acknowledges and celebrates inclusive employers and diversity champions.

The Inclusive Awards, organised by Inclusive Companies, is the only awards ceremony that rewards organisations for harnessing a truly diverse workforce across all protected characteristics. The awards cover excellence in all areas of diversity including age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race and religion, as well as highlighting diverse employers and employees across a wide variety of sectors including housing, public, private, charity and education. 

“It’s an absolute honour to host the Inclusive Awards and a privilege to meet these inspiring individuals and businesses who have gone above and beyond to improve the lives of others in their workplace and community,” said Naga Munchetty.

“I would like to congratulate all the finalists and winners and also thank them for stepping up their diversity and inclusion practices: I hope their success encourages many others to follow their example.”

Entries to the eight categories were assessed and the winners chosen by an esteemed panel of 20 judges from diverse cultural and business backgrounds.

The Social Mobility Project Award recognises organisations who have developed and implemented project that encourage social mobility and community involvement from all backgrounds.

The University is renowned for its supportive and nurturing approach to students, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to reach their full potential within higher education.

In 2016, a unique support framework was introduced for those who were care-experienced or estranged from their parents/carers. This has now been embedded for some of their most vulnerable students. As a result, the institution has been recognised as a national exemplar, demonstrating what can be achieved by a unique, student-centred approach to supporting some of the most disadvantaged students in higher education.

The University's ‘We Care’ team provides tailored support for all care-experienced and estranged students. By engaging directly with these individuals, they have implemented an institution-wide support package which has had a significant positive impact on progression rates as well as student satisfaction.

Paul Sesay, CEO and Founder of the Inclusive Awards, said: “I am delighted to see the Inclusive Awards event return and it’s humbling to see so many talented, diverse and inclusive organisations and individuals in one room.

"The University of Sunderland’s award-winning team title is ‘We Care’ and they most certainly do! Social mobility is important to all of society but especially so for young adults venturing out into the world and finding their independence as they leave home. The University of Sunderland is clearly doing great work in being inclusive in terms of its student intake, but they know that alone is not enough. They recognise that alongside providing first-rate higher education, they must meet the social needs of all students: whatever their background and circumstances. Their work is extraordinary and the impact they are having by enabling all students to thrive at university is profound: well done to them!”

The award comes as the 'We Care' team has launched their annual Christmas appeal, raising funds to support care-experienced and estranged students and their children at the University's Sunderland and London campuses.