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Law students win King's Civic Challenge funding

Local projects co-created by students from The Dickson Poon School of Law have received funding to make their ideas a reality at the final of King’s first ever Civic Challenge.

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The event, which took place in the Chamber of City Hall, was officially supported by the Mayor of London and his volunteering programme, Team London.

Finalists presented ideas developed in response to challenges identified by each team’s local charity to a panel that included representatives from Team London, Lambeth Council, Southwark Council and Westminster City Council.

Three winning teams featured students from The Dickson Poon School of Law – two teams that were co-awarded the prize in the health & wellbeing category, and the winning team from the education & attainment category. They will receive up to £5,000 of project funding for the charity and ongoing support and coaching to make their idea a reality.

Health & Wellbeing

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The joint winners of the health and wellbeing award with Councillor Mark Shearer, Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Services & Digital at Westminster City Council

The Carers’ Hub Lambeth team, which included Alysha Ratnam (Law LLB), explained that there are up to 8.8 million informal carers in the UK with around 20,000 living in Lambeth. They emphasised that caring impacts on many aspects of a person’s life, with eight in ten UK carers saying that they feel lonely or socially isolated. Carers, they said, are also seven times more likely than average to report always feeling this way.

Carers already accessing Carers’ Hub Lambeth’s social activities report feeling 41 per cent less isolated. Their King’s Civic Challenge award will now allow the team to develop ‘Caring Stories’, workshops that aim to reduce loneliness among informal carers in Lambeth to help improve their mental and physical health through peer support. It will culminate in an exhibition to raise awareness of the challenges that carers face.

The group working with Cardinal Hume Centre, included Maria Barragan (English Law & Spanish Law LLB). They explained in their pitch that young people don’t queue up at for housing advice but look to their phones and social media instead.

Their solution was to co-produce a short film with young people to highlight issues that might lead to homelessness, how to tackle them and where to get help. Following their win, the group will now work with young people in Westminster with lived experience of homelessness to create the film, partnering with schools, youth centres and places of worship.

Councillor Mark Shearer, Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Services & Digital, at Westminster City Council presented the health and wellbeing award. He explained that the judges recognised that the hidden homelessness challenge addressed by the Cardinal Hume Centre project is one that needs to be highlighted and tackled. The Carers’ Hub Lambeth team, he added, had identified a clear problem with strong community need and reason for action.

Education & attainment

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The team working with Mousetrap Theatre Projects present their idea

The team working with education theatre charity, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, included Wenxi Huang (Master of Laws LLM) and Hanzhi Meng (International Financial Law LLM).  

Their award will allow them to work together to plan and launch an afterschool drama club at Gateway Academy in Westminster to improve children’s confidence and communication skills through ‘active play’. The children will also be introduced to live theatre by going on trips to the West End to see shows such as Wicked and The Lion King, as well as experiencing backstage tours.

We’ve worked with our boroughs to identify where local needs could best be supported by King’s strengths and expertise. King’s Civic Challenge exemplifies all of this. It recognises that by working together we can do even more to address local challenges and opportunities.– Baroness Deborah Bull, Vice President & Vice Principal (London)

The Civic Challenge was designed in collaboration with King’s staff, partners across our home boroughs and Team London.

The ten finalist teams were supported by King’s alumni mentors and co-developed their ideas with charities across Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster: Cardinal Hume Centre, Carers’ Hub Lambeth, Friends of Windmill Gardens, Girls United, GlobalGirl Media UK, London Youth, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, Rathbone Society, Southwark Pensioners’ Centre and Theatre Peckham.

Every team will now be supported by King’s to find their next step, through connections with relevant expertise or signposting to alternative funding.

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