A Derby student committed to improving disabled people’s independence has helped to secure a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund to improve city centre access.
Katie Hunt, 25, from Sheffield, recently completed a BA (Hons) Health and Social Care degree at the University of Derby, during which she undertook a work placement at Shopmobility Sheffield. While delivering focus groups with regular users of the service, she found that many of them had difficulty getting to the charity’s city centre Eldon Street office.
“I realised that we had to remove this barrier, to ensure that our regular users, and more people, could access the service and do their shopping with our assistance,” said Katie.
“To do so we had to help people get to us, and so I applied for an Award For All Grant from the Big Lottery Fund for £10,000 to buy a mini-bus. This transport would allow us to take our equipment to our service users, making Sheffield Shop Mobility truly mobile.”
Katie was informed by the Big Lottery that her application was successful in May (2013) and since then she has been working with her Shop Mobility colleagues to create a system staffed by volunteers, and to develop a workable booking system.
Katie, who also worked at a children’s centre and volunteered at a day centre for socially excluded young people while studying, added: “I’m really proud to have won this funding for the Shop Mobility service as I know it can make a massive difference to people’s lives. Being successful has also been a massive boost to my confidence. The support of my University lecturers and their guidance on preparing bids was really valuable, so I also have them to thank.”
John Bowie, Senior Lecturer on the University of Derby’s BA (Hons) Health and Social Care degree, said: “When our final year students are on placement they all have to complete a plan for a funded extension of services within a health care organisation as part of their final year assessment.
“This is normally seen as a planning exercise and students leave behind a useful plan for the ‘host’ organisation to follow up. But Katie went one step further, submitting an excellent grant application and securing the money.
“We are incredibly proud of Katie for doing this, and we know that Shop Mobility Sheffield will really benefit from it. I am confident that with the skills and determination she has demonstrated in this project that she will go on to have a fantastic career in whatever aspect of health and social care she decides to pursue.”
For more information on studying Health and Social Care at the University, visit www.derby.ac.uk/health