Brookes students join forces to benefit their community

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Oxford Brookes students are helping community groups throughout Oxford and the wider region.

Community groups throughout Oxfordshire are benefiting from the talents of Brookes' students and the generosity of the university's alumni thanks to an exciting new funding initiative.

The Student Innovation Fund has raised more than £12,000 and helped fund a wide range of good causes.

Caroline Cage (pictured), a postgraduate on the Diploma in Architecture course, enlisted the support of fellow students to design a sustainable eco shelter for the Barracks Lane Community Garden in East Oxford.

Caroline said of the project: 'It's been fantastic and shows what students can do working with the local community. Together we have achieved something that will last.'

The shelter, which has now been granted planning permission, will allow the users of the garden to extend their activities to include workshops, performances, and refreshments.

'It is possible to change someone's life with support from the Student Innovation Fund,' said Tom Newton-Smith, a Youth and Community Work and Applied Theology student. He set up a music tutoring group for local schools in the South-west to teach DJ-ing. Tom has teamed up with MC Tyte, a former UK champion beat boxer, to run classes which will reach out to young people disaffected by school or society.

Two youth clubs have benefited from the fund with one Oxford Brookes student setting up a drop-in café in a youth centre in Botley while another enlisted club members to create a female-friendly revamp of their facilities. A further project held events to raise awareness of autism.

Helen Shone, Alumni Development Project Officer at Oxford Brookes, said the Student Innovation Fund had caught the imagination of students and alumni alike. 'We'll be launching a new round of funding next semester enabling us to support a fresh set of community projects inspired and led by our students.'