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2023 Commendations of Contribution

  Heather Black – University of Strathclyde

Heather has been involved with HELOA Scotland for the best part of a decade and has been an incredibly dedicated contributor to the committee and organisation as a whole. She served two terms as VC Training. Heather’s most notable successes have been organising the HELOA Scotland Conferences which took place bi-annually. Heather has been a brilliant committee leader, effectively leading the group to provide a comprehensive and relevant programme to engage members from across HELOA Scotland. During Heather’s tenure the event grew in popularity and is a firm favourite amongst HELOA Scotland members. Additionally, Heather’s enthusiasm and willingness to work collectively is something that is recognised throughout HELOA and beyond. Her work is greatly appreciated by the committee and members alike. This commendation is thoroughly deserved due to Heather’s long-term input into HELOA Scotland.

Nominated by Calum Fraser (University of Dundee & HELOA Group Chair: Scotland)

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Louise Irving – Abertay University

Louise is a long-term member of HELOA Scotland and served one term as VC Training and Partnerships. Louise is known throughout HELOA for our kindness and willingness to work collaboratively. A key partnership for HELOA Scotland is with government organisation Skills Development Scotland, Louise worked hard to continue developing the partnership and we are now in a position where they are about to become recognised as a group level partner. Skills Development Scotland are now a regular participant in HELOA Scotland collaborative events thanks to Louise’s relationship management.
Louise also had close involvement with reinstating the Borders UCAS event. Louise worked closely with the HELOA Chair Ali Clark at the time to lobby UCAS into bringing back the event which enabled students from that region to access information on HE. This was welcomed by the HELOA membership as there are few outreach opportunities in this region. Louise has made significant contributions over the years and the commendation is well-earned.

Nominated by Calum Fraser (University of Dundee & HELOA Group Chair: Scotland)

Nicola Marsden – Sheffield Hallam University

Nicola was a fantastic member of our North West and Northern Ireland group throughout her tenure at Lancaster University. She represented the group at UCAS Working Group effectively and thoroughly providing members with detailed, clear and timely information which was appreciated by all. Moreover, in conjunction with Unifrog, she brought together 16 HEI’s across the NW & NI to run a collaborative virtual Teachers and Advisers Conference, which was so positively received by the large number of attendees and institutions involved. It was no mean feat and required many extra hours of work and really championed the success we can achieve collaboratively. We wish you all the best swapping the red rose for the white rose in your new role!

Nominated by Chris Mullen (Edge Hill University & HELOA Group Chair: North West & Northern Ireland)

Jonathan Atkinson – University of Liverpool

Jonathan has been an active member of HELOA in all of his roles at different institutions and imbues the core ethos of the organisation of empowering its members to best support the needs of students in making informed decisions relating to Higher Education.
Starting as the North West & Northern Ireland VC Training, Jonny created engaging sessions which appealed to all group members and grew attendance at group meetings. This continued as he became Group Chair, which saw national recognition at the HELOA Awards for the new mentoring system he helped to spearhead.
After his successful time as Group Chair Jonny was elected to HELOA Chair and has seen the charity through the COVID Pandemic, ensuring that high quality opportunities for members could take place online and created new ways for members to engage and share best practice during unknown times. Jonny has also overseen large changes to the organisation, supporting the Executive with HELOA becoming a charity and the creation of our Associate Members. In addition he has represented HELOA with National agencies and raised the charities profile with key external senior stakeholders.
All the while, he’s importantly been a kind and thoughtful leader. Jonny has challenged and championed the UKC to ensure that everything HELOA does, empowers our members to carry out the charity’s main goal, of supporting students. It is for this reason we would like to say thank you for his continued support and for the many achievements that a short commendation would not be able to include.

Nominated by The HELOA Executive

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Sarah Crotty – University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN)

When thinking about who comprises the spirit of HELOA, one name instantly comes to mind.
During 2022, as we all returned to what felt slightly more like a normal year – there were still some challenges. Sarah Crotty is that person you can always rely on for a friendly welcome to an event, especially in Northern Ireland, whether you are new to your role or the sector or have had many years on the road. One example of this is at Kent UCAS. Before the event started Sarah was helping delegates to set up stands and putting out boxes of prospectuses for those that were delayed getting to the event or unwell. She also rallied others across the event to support. At the end of the event Sarah and her colleague, Amy, were also an unofficial taxi service. They travelled in the opposite direction from their next event to make sure others could catch their trains (creating a cracking picture for the HELOA page) and worked with others with spaces in their cars to ensure no one was left behind at the event. As one of the more stressful events of 2022, Sarah really was that shining light that reassured you that it was going to be ok. Plus, if you ever need a travel tip Sarah is your go to person! Whether you need a tablecloth, lift, a helping hand, or a friendly face, Sarah will be there. On behalf of everyone you’ve helped in some way, thank you Sarah!
Sarah is an unsung hero within the North West and Northern Ireland and the embodiment of everything HELOA stands for. Sarah always has a smile on her face and is such a fantastic role model for any member of staff, new or experienced. She is always willing to help and support others, no matter the institution, inconvenience or difficulty of the task, and has done so on more than one occasion. She is loved by all, thank you for everything you do Sarah!

Two nominations received
1st Nomination: Fiona Curry (University of Cumbria & HELOA VC Finance) and Emily Day (Lancaster University & Group Chair: Midlands)
2nd Nomination: Chris Mullen (Edge Hill University & HELOA Group Chair: North West & Northern Ireland)

Krishna Maroo – University of West London

Krishna’s tireless service to both the cause of Widening Participation and to HELOA is more than deserving of a Commendation. Throughout her career she has evidenced a tireless commitment to the aims, practice, and philosophy of WP. She understands WP as politically active, lives her principles and her work supporting mature learners, and encouraging other institutions to do the same, is second to none. As Vice-Chair Training for the London group, she instituted new and highly effective ways to approach group meetings, and has campaigned for better EDI initiatives in HELOA structures and events. Within both HELOA and the wider sector, her work is a shining example of good practice we can all learn from.

Nominated by Ben Copsey (City, University of London)

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Chris Mullen – Edge Hill University

Chris Mullen has been the Group Chair for the North West and Northern Ireland group for the past three years. The dedication, time and energy Chris puts into the role has been extraordinary. Chris is hardworking, passionate, supportive and truly cares about his role within HELOA. Chris has built upon the success of our mentoring scheme and in true HELOA style has delivered sessions to all regional committees to help them create and facilitate their own version. Chris also created a resource for new members joining the NW & NI group, which was written by members from the region. This is an invaluable, and HELOA award-winning, resource which all our members have and continue to benefit from. Chris went above and beyond in lockdown and filmed update videos as opposed to written updates to ensure members continued to feel connected to HELOA and the regional group. Chris is a magnificent colleague. His reliable, friendly and thoughtful nature has contributed to the group immensely. Thank you for being a brilliant Group Chair, Chris.

Nominated by Ellie Lloyd Davies (Manchester Met University & HELOA Group Vice-Chair, Training & Partnerships: North West & Northern Ireland)
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Elliot Newstead – University of Leicester

Elliot has made a huge contribution to HELOA as a charity in a number of different roles. Most recently this has been through Elliot’s role as Membership Engagement Manager (UCAS) within the Partnerships Team. Elliot has gone above and beyond with his contribution to the organisation, whether this is through the development and growth of the UCAS events and product development groups to answering huge volumes of queries within the HELOA Facebook group! Elliot has grown and developed the events working group and has overseen a step change in terms of collaborative working and influence in decision making which HELOA holds. In terms of The Product Development Group, Elliot has grown, developed and professionalised this. The work of this group and input for members has produced benefits for the wider membership and more importantly, the prospective students we support. Elliot will be hugely missed as a volunteer by the organisation but has certainly given his due contribution and I’m sure will miss the network but not so much the Facebook queries! Thank you Elliot!

Nominated by Jack Clare (University of Wolverhampton & HELOA VC Partnerships)