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The Alumni Achiever of the Year Award is back and we want your nominations!

Are you a graduate or do you know any graduate of the University of Sunderland who you think deserves this title and can be recognised for their achievements since leaving the Institution? If so, why not apply/nominate them for the Alumni Achiever of the Year Award 2018. 

The aim of the award is to recognise and reward an outstanding member of our Alumni Association. 

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Nominations should be made in writing using our nomination form available HERE

Deadline for nominations is Friday 26 October 2018.

Nominees must be alumni of the University of Sunderland or its predecessor institutions* and should exhibit outstanding, noteworthy achievement in at least one of the following areas: 

  • Professional success demonstrated by notable career achievements and/or;
  • Extraordinary community involvement and/or;
  • Excellent service to the University in the following: service in alumni programmes, on advisory committees, student recruitment, internships, mentoring and job placement, and through efforts made to ensure the welfare of the institution and/or;
  • Promoting the Alumni Association, organising class reunions and participating in career networking programs. 

*Including: Sunderland Technical College, Sunderland Art College, Sunderland Teacher Training College and Sunderland Polytechnic. 

To be eligible for nomination, alumni do not have to be working in the particular discipline from which they graduated.

Methods of nomination

Nominations may be made for the Alumni Achiever of the Year Award by any of the following individuals or groups:

  • Any staff member of the University of Sunderland
  • Any member of an affiliate or support organization of the University
  • Any University of Sunderland former student
  • Any friend of the University of Sunderland
  • Alumni may nominate themselves

Nominations should be made in writing using our nomination form available HERE. Deadline for nominations is Friday 26 October 2018.


The winner will be presented with their award at the University's winter graduation ceremonies, which will take place from Wednesday 28 November to Friday 30 November 2018.

Alumni Achiever of the Year 2017

Charlotte Knill was named Alumni Achiever of the Year in 2017, a little over a year after graduating , after making her name as a leading light for women in science in the region.

Charlotte, 25, from Hexham, works as Digital a Forensics Investigator at Northumbria Police. She graduated in 2016 with a BSc Computer Forensics degree. After graduating she worked in the private sector for Security Risk Management, before taking up her current post with Northumbria Police.

While still at university Charlotte created the website, Female Tech Blog, aimed at encouraging women into cybersecurity careers. Her posts have attracted followers from around the world, and have led to her giving talks throughout the country, including for GCHQ.

Professor Alastair Irons, Academic Dean of the Faculty of Technology, nominated Charlotte for the award.  He said: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to nominate Charlotte. The work she has done in promoting STEM careers for females has benefited our University and the computing community in the North East.” 

Sunderland Literature Festival

Sunderland's annual literature festival is once again celebrating the city's rich literary talent with local authors, local artists and local themes.

The festival, which is organised by Sunderland Libraries Services in partnership with the University of Sunderland, School of Culture, begins on Friday 28 September and runs through until Saturday 3 November 2018.

Highlights include an opening evening of murder, mystery and guesswork, an audience with ever popular folk artist Jez Lowe, North East poet Scott Tyrell, a performance of The Muddy Choir, written by award winner Jesse Briton and Propaganda, Revolution and Victory to commemorate Armistice Day and the end of World War One.

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There is also the chance to bring along any old film footage, to see if this can be part of a major Search & Rescue project with North East Film Archive. Staff will be on hand with video players and hand winders to enable these to be seen once again. Short archive film screenings will also be played.

For those who like historical costume, Meridith Towne will be talking about  working women’s battle for the vote. There is even a Peaky Blinders interactive session with the Time Bandits.

Councillor John Kelly, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture said: "The city has a real wealth of literary and creative talent which we should all be proud of and it's only right that we should celebrate that.

“What’s really great about this year’s festival is that we have such a wide range of themes and events on offer with something for everyone. The majority of the events are free so I'd urge everyone to have a look through the programme to see what they're interested in and to come along and join in."

Sunderland Literature Festival Highlights

- University of Sunderland lecturers Colin and Alison Younger launch “Grimmer Fairy Tales”

- ‘Propaganda, Revolution and Victory’ conference on Saturday 13 October commemorating the end of World War One. Key note speakers include Peter Hart, author of The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front and Taylor Dowling, author of Secret Warriors: Key Scientists, code Breakers and Propagandists of the Great War.

- British-Asian writer A.A. Dhand talking about work set against a background of crime and inter-communal challenges.- Time Bandits’ talk on the Last 100 days before Armistice.

- Ancestry taster sessions

- Local author Jane Lowes talks about her debut book “Horse keeper’s Daughter”

- Creative writing workshop with self-published author, Jamie Richards

- Time for Rhyme sessions and craft activities for children

- Dyslexia Awareness sessions in partnership with Sunderland Social Inclusion & Dyslexia Project.

Visit: https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/whats-on-in-libraries for a programme and more information on the festival.

Team Sunderland have appointed Natalie Gray as their first ever President.

Team Sunderland is the new brand that all sporting activity and delivery at the University of Sunderland will come under.

Natalie is a recent graduate from the University having completed her degree in Sport Development this summer.

During her time at the University of Sunderland Natalie represented the Cheerleading team in the role of President and also coached the team for three years alongside head coach Abigail Curry throughout her time at the university, winning the award for The Individual Who Achieved the Most for Their Club at the 2017 Clubs & Societies Ball.

Natalie is a Level Three cheerleading coach in stunts, tumbles and tosses, a journey she began at the university by volunteering with the university cheerleading team through the Sport Career Academy.

Natalie will continue to coach the cheerleading team this year having been instrumental in the club winning the Most Improved Team award at this year’s Clubs & Societies Ball.

Natalie said: “I am delighted to be appointed Team Sunderland’s first President.

“This is a fantastic graduate opportunity for me to continue my development and I am grateful for the experience I have gained during my time at the University of Sunderland that have enabled me to take on this role.”

Sean Percival, Sports Development Manager at Team Sunderland said: This is a fantastic to be involved in sport within the university with opportunities both to compete and increase your wellness through a variety of programmes and facilities.

“With Natalie as our student contact it means that we have a direct line to increase the student experience within sport and Team Sunderland.”

Natalie added: “I am incredibly excited to be involved with the changes that are taking place this year and my plan is to engage with all clubs and ensure they are gaining the best experience possible this year.

“I also want to continue to show recognition throughout the year and encourage the clubs to showcase their achievements.”

“I am always open for people to come and speak to me whenever they have an issue, I’ll always do my best to make sure we get the best possible outcome for the clubs.

“If you wish to speak to me I am based in the Team Sunderland office on the ground floor of the Edinburgh Building on City Campus and you can also contact me via email.”

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Clubs & Societies Fayre

Wednesday 26 September, 9am-3.30pm - CitySpace, City Campus

The Clubs & Societies Fayre is one of the biggest student events of the year, held in CitySpace the Fayre is the perfect start to the academic year.

The Fayre is always action packed, busy and full of fun.

As a new student this is your chance to learn about the city and indulge in free offers from a host of different businesses .

The event also showcases the extensive sport and recreation provision on offer from the University of Sunderland, including the CitySpace fitness suite, volunteering programmes as well giving students the chance to sign up for any number of our sports clubs and societies - and take advantage of many discounts and giveaways - such as this great discount (below) from Sunderland Football Club.

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Vice-Chancellor's Blog

A message from Sir David Bell on his first day as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland

I first visited the University of Sunderland a number of years ago when I was Permanent Secretary – the most senior civil servant – at the Department for Education. Even now, I can recall vividly going back to London and reflecting on the great work being done at the University.

Little did I think that, one day, I would have the honour and privilege of leading this great institution. I am also humbled to be following in the footsteps of the estimable Shirley Atkinson, someone that I respect hugely.

Although it is only three months since I was appointed, I have been itching to get started. So here I am, day one, in the role as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive. I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can, and as soon as possible.

I hope that you will find me to be a very visible presence around our campuses. So if you see me – not least if I am looking lost! – do come up and introduce yourself.

A bit about me personally. I am a Glaswegian and the proud product of a comprehensive school, Knightswood Secondary. I’ve done a few different jobs across the education system (including, whisper it, spending a decade in Newcastle). Most recently, I have been the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Reading.

I am married to Louise and we have two adult daughters. Laura lives in Norwich and works for the University of East Anglia and Shona has been in Australia since September last year……..having a great time, as well as working along the way.

Louise and I are looking forward to moving to live in Sunderland. Currently, we are on the hunt for a house so are getting to know the area quite quickly.

Through this weekly blog, I will keep you informed about what I have been doing as well as share a few reflections along the way.

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Sir David Bell, our new Vice-Chancellor, met Students’ Union presidents Mandi Purvis, Bryan Pepple and Diana Tretjak for a chat on his first day in post.

Diana Tretjak commented: “It was a great pleasure meeting the Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell, we're so pleased he is very interested in working together collaboratively. We’re looking forward to seeing him again soon.”


The man who is working to put creativity into the heart of everyday life will launch a new series of free Public Lectures at the University of Sunderland. Darren Henley OBE is Chief Executive of Arts Council England, and presents his free talk ‘Creativity: why it matters’.

The popular series returns for a short run on Thursday 4 October, when one of the most powerful and influential figures in the arts will present ‘Creativity: why it matters’.

Darren Henley sets out the challenges facing law-makers, schools and universities as fewer young people find their way into creative careers. He argues that creativity is the catalyst that will enable the next generation to invent tomorrow, enriching lives and places.

All lectures are free and open to all. Free parking is available on campus from 6pm. To book go to: www.sunderland.ac.uk/events, contact events@sunderland.ac.uk, or go to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and search for ‘Public Lectures’.

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Darren Henley, the author of the recently-published book Creativity: Why It Matters, will also reflect on the role culture and the creative industries are playing in the economic regeneration of Sunderland.

The series will continue on 11 October when writer and former Government minister Chris Mullin joins the university direct from rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival to examine ‘The Remarkable Rise of Jeremy Corbyn’. Mr Mullin will chart the unlikely pathway to power of the Labour leader, and reflects on similarities with his novel, A Very British Coup.

As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave votes to women in England for the first time, a distinguished panel will discuss the role played by women in Sunderland over the last century.

ITV Tyne Tees and Borders Political Correspondent Gerry Foley hosts ‘A Century of Women and Politics’ on Thursday 8 November, with contributions from Sunderland MPs Julie Elliott and Bridget Phillipson as well as the former chief whip Baroness Hilary Armstrong.

All lectures are free and open to all. Free parking is available on campus from 6pm. To book go to: www.sunderland.ac.uk/events, contact events@sunderland.ac.uk, or go to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk and search for ‘Public Lectures’.

2018 Public Lecture Series

Darren Henley OBE – Creativity: why it matters

Thursday 4 October, 7pm, Hope Street Xchange, City Campus, Chester Road

The chief executive of Arts Council England sets out the challenges facing law-makers, schools and universities as fewer young people find their way into creative careers.


Chris Mullin - The Remarkable Rise of Jeremy Corbyn

Thursday 11 October, 6.30pm - Sir Tom Cowie Lecture Theatre, Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s

Direct from rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival, the writer and former government minister Chris Mullin charts the unlikely pathway to power of the Labour leader, and reflects on similarities with his novel, A Very British Coup.


Deeds, not Words – A Century of Women and Politics

Thursday 8 November, 6.30pm - Sir Tom Cowie Lecture Theatre, Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s

ITV Tyne Tees and Borders Political Correspondent Gerry Foley hosts a discussion featuring Sunderland MPs Julie Elliott and Bridget Phillipson as well as the former chief whip Baroness Hilary Armstrong.

To welcome you to the city Sunderland Empire are offering ALL University of Sunderland student £15 tickets for Wicked.

Grab best available seats for just £15* for Wicked at the Sunderland Empire (on the day of the performance only, in person at the Box Office).

until 27 September

‘The gravity-defying ‘Wizard of Oz’ prequel’ (Time Out London) is the recipient of over 100 major international awards, including 10 theatregoer-voted WhatsOnStage Awards (winning ‘Best West End Show’ on three occasions) and two Olivier Audience Awards in the UK.

‘A huge, bright, colourful production that’s full of wonder and joy’ (Official London Theatre), Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two young women who first meet as sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

This unforgettable musical transports audiences to a stunningly re-imagined world of Oz, providing marvels beyond your imagination…

Now in its 12th year at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre and on tour in the UK & Ireland throughout 2018.

Book in person at the Box Office High Street West, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR1 3EX

*£15 best available seats will be allocated on the day of performance only. Valid Mon - Thu performances only. Sunderland Photographic ID must be provided on collection of tickets.

All sales including, but not limited to, tickets, promotions, discounts and concessions are subject to terms and conditions of sale and availability, cannot be used on premium seats, in conjunction with any other discount or applied retrospectively. Offer may be withdrawn without notice. T&C’s apply.

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Professorial Lectures 2018/19

Professorial Lectures return for the new term when Professor Lawrence Bellamy, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism, presents Operations, Strategy and Risk: A Process Journey, on 1 November.

All talks are free but must be booked in advance via Eventbrite.

Professor Lawrence Bellamy’s background is as a Chartered Engineer within the manufacturing and construction industries involving supply chain activities with composites, thermoplastics and thermosets.

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In this lecture, Lawrence will draw from his interdisciplinary practice considering the processes that make the world function. The lecture will also take a look at the timeline of selected management process development within organisations and examine how our understanding of these building blocks of business continues to develop, drawing upon learning points from high-profile failures throughout.

Professor Bellamy’s research interests lie in the area of Strategy, Enterprise, Small Business, International Management and work-based learning. He is a long-standing examiner for the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS). He has taught and been involved with partnership development in countries including Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Norway, Singapore, Finland, Turkey, Malta, Brunei and various parts of Europe.

Lawrence has a range of experience as a Company Director, University Governor and a Journalist as well as being a reviewer for several international journals.

The lecture Operations, Strategy and Risk: A Process Journey takes place on Thursday 1 November at 6.00pm at the Prospect Building, room 007, St Peter’s Campus, Sunderland, SR6 0DD.

Refreshments will be served from 5.30pm in the Prospect Building.

Click here to book your place.


Ambassadors wanted

If you want to get ahead, get a hoodie.

Applications for the Student Ambassador’s Scheme are now open.

Gain experience, develop skills, represent your Uni, earn some extra money – and get to wear a bright orange Ambassador’s hoodie!


Closing date: midnight, 30 September

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Please note that St Peter’s Way at the junction with Dame Dorothy Street is now closed. (see image below, highlighted in red).
• The works are due to commence w/c Mon 24 Sept and are anticipated to last up to 3 weeks. 
• The City Council are temporarily making Charles Street two-way – this will stop vehicles travelling anti-clockwise on St Peter’s getting stuck in a bottle neck. 
• Signs will be on site highlighting the closure, and No Entry signs on Charles Street will temporarily be covered.  
• Vehicles wishing to access Dame Dorothy Street will retain access via the north eastern junction of St Peter’s Way/Dame Dorothy Street (next to the A183 text on the plan below). 

From Monday 24 September service 700 and 701 will have temporary stop opposite the current stops on St Peter's Way, as the route of the bus will change due to essential roadworks.

The eastern exit from St Peters way will be closed for three weeks by Sunderland City Council, in order that road works may be carried out eastbound, which means the 700 and 701 to St Peter's Way via Dame Dorothy Street. Nexus will site temporary stops - and will post notices directing passengers to those stops.

Please note that the times of the 700 and 701 Campus Bus services have changed for the new term.

You can download the latest times here:




Study Abroad Fair

Tuesday, 2 October, noon-2pm - Hope Street Xchange, City Campus

If you would like to join us at the Study Abroad Fair, email study.abroad@sunderland.ac.uk with your full name, student number and course.  

• Spend one or two semesters abroad as part of your degree

• Incredible experiences across the globe

• Study Abroad scholarships and funding available

• Create memories for a lifetime

We would love to meet you and tell you how you can get involved with this great experience!


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The health prospects of people with learning disabilities could be improved if more use was made of medical testing technology which is carried out close to where the patient is receiving care, a North East study has found.

The study, conducted by researchers at Sunderland on behalf of NHS England, evaluated whether the use of Point of Care Testing (POCT) could improve access to healthcare and treatment for people with a learning disability. People with learning disabilities have a significantly lower life expectancy than the general population and are at higher risk of certain diseases including diabetes, hearing loss, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

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POCT is medical testing at or near the site of a patient by specially trained healthcare professionals, typically involving blood and/or urine testing. The goal is to collect the specimen, usually through the use of advanced portable and handheld instruments, which are less invasive than traditional methods such as intravenous injections – and get accurate results in a very short period of time that can be presented to the patient quickly, and often on the same day as their appointment.

Hearing screening can also be completed quickly and successfully using POCT via automatic handheld machines. Information about the outer, middle and inner ear can be collected within a couple of minutes, without any response needed from the person taking part.

There are growing concerns about the health of those with learning disabilities described by one nurse in the study as being at “a different crisis level”. Whilst the North East and Cumbria are delivering the national annual Learning Disability Health Check above the national rate, improvement is still needed to maximise its potential. There is cultural apathy towards hearing loss, understanding of their symptoms and recognised anxieties about health interventions, in particular needle tests, which prevented this ‘vulnerable’ group from seeking treatment.

The team of University researchers evaluated the experiences of key stakeholders using POCT including Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), NHS England, and learning disability national leads, audiologists, GPs and nurses with a special interest in learning disability.

The study found a general lack of awareness of POCT, and lack of knowledge about its availability and potential. However, all stakeholders believed there was a strong case to adopt POCT, particularly in primary care, to support access to diagnostics for people with learning disabilities. It was also felt to be less stressful for both service users as well as clinicians and could provide fresh objective evidence as part of health checking.

Lead researcher Karen Giles Principal Lecturer at the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, commented: “The main aim, and benefit of POCT is to bring the test conveniently and immediately to the patient. This increases the likelihood of getting the results quicker, enabling clinicians to support the timely diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of patients.

“Our study, a collaborative initiative across health, social care and higher education, has generated key strategies that can inform a best practice model for POCT to be adopted for people with learning disabilities, and has identified specific adjustments that would be needed to run successfully. A key finding was the potential positive role of POCT in supporting people who are anxious about needles.

“There are some barriers identified including cost and practical aspects of adopting POCT, but its value to this complex care setting cannot be underestimated.”

Dr Lynzee McShea, a Senior Clinical Scientist in Audiology at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust was the Audiology lead for this project. She explained: “Around 40% of all adults with learning disabilities also have hearing loss, but much of this is undiagnosed and untreated. A number of barriers exist around referral to Audiology services and misconceptions about the testing and treatments available. It is assumed that people with learning disabilities cannot have their hearing tested or will not benefit from wearing hearing aids but this is not the case. Inclusion of hearing screening in the POCT project aims to raise awareness and increase knowledge, leading to better outcomes.”

Following the research findings, a series of pop-up clinics in local resource centres at Fulwell and Washington, were run in collaboration with the Health Promotion Team, which promotes health and wellbeing for people with a learning disability. The clinics were attended by 20 volunteer adults with a learning disability, who took part in a briefing session held at the centres they attend, followed by a health screening a week later done in a relaxed environment with people that they knew, and getting feedback from the screening straight away.

Karen explained said: “One lady in her 40s had never ever had her bloods tested before as she ‘hates blood tests’. She allowed us to do the finger prick test in the preparation session and was first in the queue at the pop up clinic!”

“This highlights that done correctly POCT offers the delivery of the right care in the right place at the right time.”

Dr McShea, added: “It has been fantastic to see the inclusion of hearing screening in the pop-up clinics to show how quick and easy assessment can be. Every single person who attended had their hearing screened, and we found a range of conditions such as perforated eardrums, infections and possible hearing loss, which had not been detected prior.”

Ashley Murphy, Learning Disability and Autism Primary Care Programme Manager for Sunderland CCG and Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Trust, worked alongside the University and organised the pop-up clinics.

She said: “It was clear that our organisations had a lot skills that we could bring together on this project. The University had all of the latest equipment, which supported training needs for our non-clinical staff involved in learning disabilities, who could then participate in POCT.

“It’s vital that patients have access to the right treatment, and our pop-up clinic was the appropriate setting as we were treating people who had the capacity to engage with staff, they were really positive and excited about it which was fantastic.

“More work is needed to be done in this area, but a positive start has been made to shine a light on this important area of improving healthcare treatment in a non-medicalised environment for those with learning disabilities.”

An NHS England spokesperson said: “NHS England Chief Scientific Office is pleased to have partnered with the University of Sunderland to deliver this unique approach to improving access to health care and treatment for people with learning disabilities. We are happy that the initial work led by Dr Martin Myers MBE, on proposed models to deliver point of care testing have been adapted and enhanced by the University Of Sunderland in this ground-breaking pilot which has had such a significant impact on the ability of health care professionals to support diagnostic testing for the learning disabled. The Chief Scientific Office endorses any innovation that is able to reduce the health inequalities experienced by those with learning disabilities.”

A practical guide for anyone looking to implement using point of care testing for people with a learning disability, has now been generated from the research findings and tested by the pop-up clinics.

Further studies are recommended to explore who is responsible for its availability and adoption, particularly in primary care.

Principal Lecturer Karen Giles and Ashley Murphy, Learning Disability and Autism Primary Care Programme Manager


(Learning disability nurse)                                                             “…We have almost a different crisis level, don’t we? [for adults with learning disabilities] We kind of…  It’s much, much higher.  It’s like we’re much more tolerant of all the symptoms”

(Specialist GP)                                                                                   “…this guy won’t even sit still to be examined. So this potentially offers a huge solution to that, doesn’t it?  If there’s something that’s less invasive, and that can give us the answers we need..”

(Commissioner)                                                                          “…Instead of three months, four months down the line, you're still trying to work around desensitisation for that individual to get the blood test - actually you could come to a much quicker diagnosis in terms of is there anything afoot here.  In terms of that individual.  So, for them, it could be their life, basically.  That's what it could mean..”

(GP/liaison nurse)                                                                               “We just have a lot of difficulty, especially around getting bloods… it's still a big issue because of needle...  Needle-phobia”

(Learning disability Nurse)                                                       “….people that have had really negative experiences and that...  That contributes to their phobia and their presentation now… And you're trying to address what's happened in the past and...  And almost take it back to scratch and start again.  But if this was available, there isn't any need to hold somebody down to put a sticker on their arm, really..”

 (Learning disability nurse)                                                              “…and I don’t know how many times we’ve had to get to a crisis point where somebody’s behaviour or mental health has completely broken down, where they’ll go, okay, we need to sedate this person now to get some bloods or whatever.  There’s been…  It just gets to that point where…  We need a point way before that…”

“..We tested his hearing - the carers thought he had selective hearing.  He can hear when he wants to, all the usual things we hear.  We tested his hearing, which people didn't think we would be able to do because he had Down's syndrome and autism. But found he had a profound hearing loss, so he couldn't hear speech at all.  And it shocked me to think his hearing is so bad, and yet the carers thought he could hear perfectly..”

The above quote also highlights a possibility of further assumptions made that the service users will not tolerate screening tests or any help/treatment provided if a problem is found. This relates back to the cultural value placed on the health of people with learning disability that emerges as a barrier to screening tests in numerous other ways.

ABOUT Point of Care Testing (POCT)

  • POCT is also known as near patient testing or in vitro diagnostics (IVD).
  • POCT is the ability to undertake certain laboratory tests near or at the point of the patient.
  • POCT tests can be biochemistry, haematology or molecular based.
  • POCT technology is also available for other diagnostic or screening purposes including hearing loss assessment, and can be used by non-scientists.
  • Emerging new technologies and further miniaturization developments are enabling an increased range of testing, further reducing the degree of invasiveness for sampling with a greater number of devices offering alternatives to venipuncture.
  • Benefits include faster clinical decision - impacting on length of stay, improved self-care management.
Fighting fit for new term

Students have been put through their paces by the Armed Forces to help build confidence and comradery among classmates as they enter the new university term.

The group of 50 students taking part in Barracks Day included those studying Sport and Exercise Science, Sports Coaching, Exercise Health and Fitness and Sports Coaching and Physical Education, from the First and Third year, as well as from our partner colleges in the region.

The team-building day was organised by 251 Medical Squadron at Seaburn Barracks, which our University has a longstanding relationship with.

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The day included archery, rifle range, climbing wall, problem-solving team exercises then a final relay fitness challenge.

Senior Sports Science Technician Abbie Taylor explained: “Barracks Day is an event we have just introduced this year as part of the induction programme to support student relationships and allow them to feel integrated before teaching starts.

“The students all really enjoyed the event, it was a good mix of competition and fun which allowed the students to get to know each other more. By the end of the day it was clear to see they all felt a lot more comfortable and confident in the company of their new course mates.”

The University has a longstanding relationship of mutual support with the Army’s Medical Services and in particular 251 Medical Squadron at Seaburn. The University has supported military training events with staff and equipment, and the Medical Squadron has attended University Open Days to promote the Reserve Service. Two members of University staff were also given the opportunity to join 251 Squadron on their annual exercise to Kenya providing outreach primary healthcare treatments.

The University signed their Armed Forces Covenant with a pledge to establish employment opportunities for Service leavers and recognise the unique skills many possess, directing them to suitable educational programmes and courses.

Our university was also recognised with an Employer Recognition Scheme Silver awards which recognises the major contribution an organisation is making with initiatives such as employing veterans, supporting individuals transitioning out of the Armed Forces into a new career and providing flexibility for Reservists.


Sparking a (dance) revolution

Congratulations to Sunderland's community radio station, Spark Sunderland, who picked up a clutch of awards at the national Community Radio Awards - including Gold for Specialist Show of the Year.

The Community Radio Awards are open to stations across the country. Since 2009, Spark, our community radio station, based at the Media Centre at Sir Tom Cowie Campus, has provided young people in Sunderland a voice, and a platform, to develop talent in radio production and operation. 

Compliance Manager at Spark Scott McGerty won Gold for his show, Dance Revolution Chart of the Year 2017. He said before the awards: “A station nomination is such a monumental win for us in the current community radio environment. We face immensely different challenges to other community radio stations, so for this to have been recognised is such an uplifting acknowledgment for our volunteers.”

If you want to get involved in community radio contact Spark: Hello@SparkSunderland.com

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Scott McGerty at the Community Radio Awards

Spark won awards for:

  • Entertainment Show of the Year - BRONZE Spark Sunderland – Drivetime with Ryan and Beth
  • Station of the Year - SILVER Spark Sunderland 
  • Specialist Show of the Year - GOLD Spark Sunderland – Dance Revolution Chart of the Year 2017

Winning Silver is a huge accolade for the station, which is run largely by volunteers - broadcasts across Sunderland on 107FM and around the world online. It is on air 24 hours a day, seven days a week after launching back in 2009. 

This is the second Bronze award for cousins Ryan and Beth Smith,  both BA Broadcast Journalism graduates from the University, after they picked up the award in 2017 for the Drivetime show. 

Beth said: “We’re over the moon to be nominated for the award, we love doing the show and have plenty of fun doing it! Getting out and about in the city we love and have been in since we were born means the world to us.”

Student Opportunities Fair

On Friday 12 October, join the Sunderland Futures team in Cityspace, City Campus for the Student Opportunities Fair.

You will be able to discover a variety of opportunities including part-time jobs, volunteering and work experience opportunities that will boost your CV!

30+ organisations will be in attendance to recruit for opportunities they have right now. You will also be able to find out about all of the things from Sunderland Futures that you can do during your time at university that will give you the skills and experience you need for the future.

Take a look at our tips for preparing for the fair and remember you can get your CV checked by the Sunderland Futures – login to book a 1-2-1 CV & Applications appointment before the fair.

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