St Helens student wins university scholarship for dedication and charity work

A caring student from St Helens has been rewarded for her dedication to Edge Hill and charity work.

Saturday, 7th August 2021, 11:28 am
Donna Martin

Donna Martin was “very surprised” but “really pleased” to be awarded the university scholarship, which celebrates students who help to raise Edge Hill’s profile through their exceptional contribution to equal opportunities and diversity.

The Politics and Sociology student from St Helens was commended for her work with The Big Help Project, a national charity which aims to overcome poverty by providing help with food, debt and housing.

Now in her second year, as a senior administrator and bid writer for the project which began as Knowsley Food Bank, Donna is thrilled her studies and her job have become so aligned.

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“To win this scholarship is very encouraging,” she said. “I am really committed to research within this field and I’m currently working on a preliminary report on the potential impact of food bank use in childhood, with specific reference to eating disorders in adults.”

Donna was prompted to start studying at Edge Hill to explore why demand for the project’s services was still increasing.

She said: “I’m very opinionated but firmly believe you’ve got to back up your opinions with facts. I decided I had to take my interest in politics and social justice to the next level and learn more about the causes of poverty.”

Keen to continue her studies with a Masters and PhD, Donna has submitted her report to The Trussell Trust, the NGO and charity which works to end the need for food banks in the UK.

She has already used what she has learnt to take The Big Help Project’s cause to Westminster and has been working with the MP for Knowsley, George Howarth, to lobby the Government for changes to the benefits system.

Katherine McKinnon, the employment adviser in Edge Hill’s Careers team who nominated Donna for the award, said Donna had been a “proactive student” since her first year, taking part in the Extra Edge and Competitive Edge careers programmes.

“Even though I’ve been working for years, I wanted to take part in these programmes because the workplace is always changing,” Donna added. “I’ve picked up practical tips which can make such a difference to your reputation and professionalism.”

Katherine added: “Donna is very motivated to improving the situation for people facing food poverty. “Donna has been an active volunteer in different roles for many years and this demonstrates her compassion for others.”

Donna plans to use the £2,000 scholarship to pay for new course textbooks, setting her up with an enviable “professional library” which will be an invaluable resource throughout her career.

Edge Hill University offers a wide programme of scholarships for prospective and current students in recognition of practical and academic excellence.

From networking opportunities, plenty of lively debates, field trips to party conferences and political events, Edge Hill’s Politics courses provide real-world experience of the political landscape.

And by combining politics with another related subject like Sociology, students come away with valuable skills and the knowledge of how to work within the system to change the world.