Student Support star Diana is nominated for national award

United Colleges Group (UCG) are delighted to announce that its Head of Student Support Services has been nominated for an award at a forthcoming conference for a national charity.

The tireless and inspiring work of Diana Brown, who is also the group’s Designated Safeguarding Lead, has been recognised by the National Association for Managers of Student Services (NAMSS) and Diana will attend their two-day event at Liverpool’s Hilton Hotel on March 13-14.

NAMSS provides support and professional development for managers and colleagues who work in student services roles in post-16 education and training, with a network of around 600 members in almost 300 member colleges across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Diana has been nominated in the NAMSS Student Services Awards, which be announced during a Gala Dinner on the first evening of the event.

From humble beginnings of wanting to help a few underfed and poorly clothed students, to setting up and managing food and clothes banks, Diana has developed a sustainable programme that not only clothes and feeds vulnerable students, but provides key life skills training for our supported learners, opportunities to gain work experience for students with low levels of English, and an opportunity for students to help fellow students at the United Colleges Group (UCG).

Diana started the foodbank in September 2016 after being made aware of students who were unable to participate in class or enrichment activities due to hunger. She was able to provide them with meals while in college but wanted to make sure students had access to food at home. 

Then in 2019, after helping a learner who only had a pair of slippers to wear to college, Diana set out to start a clothes bank for students — and after a delay to the project due to the pandemic, she has restarted work again on the initiative this term and is already helping other learners who need support to find essential clothing items.

Diana Brown said: “It’s a real honour to be attending the NAMSS event next month and I am looking forward to learning from my peers about the different challenges students face.

“The food and clothes banks provide basic needs for vulnerable students. They have also provided an opportunity to develop valuable learning programmes around life skills for our work experience, ESOL and supported learning students.”

Stephen Davis, Principal of United Colleges Group, said: “Everyone at UCG is delighted Diana’s selfless support of students is being recognised on a national level.

“Her nomination is well deserved and we wish her the best of luck at the awards ceremony.”