Shaping a better world
The University’s Social Charter identifies a range of Signature Projects, including some of those listed below, that encapsulate the breadth of activity Queen’s students and staff carry out every day, as well as representing the principles and themes contained within the Charter. For further details visit the Social Charter website
Homework Clubs give Queen’s University student volunteers the opportunity to provide homework support to children who live in areas of educational underachievement. These pupils may not have the opportunity to complete their homework at home which can lead to underperformance in school, low confidence and limited future opportunities.
Students can volunteer to support children and young people in communities across inner Belfast; student volunteers interact with the children / young people on a social level by engaging in meaningful conversations and by organising recreational activities as well as homework tutoring. The Homework Clubs are a safe environment for school children to attend and they are free of charge.
The principal aims of the Homework Clubs are to:
- Improve the academic achievement of children and young people participating in the Club
- Build the confidence of the children and young people participating in the Club
- Raise the aspirations of these children and young people, so they believe in their potential and ability to participate in Further and Higher Education
This is a mutually beneficial relationship as volunteering plays an important role in the personal and professional development of Queen’s students’ as well as enabling them to work towards Degree Plus and the Millennium Volunteers award (for those aged 25 and under only) or Prestige Award (for those aged 26+). In 2015-16 216 student volunteers were trained and matched with one of the 13 homework clubs.
Homework Clubs also have a positive impact on the wider community, championing the value of education.
Street Society is an annual one-week environmental design and creative event, running since 2010, and facilitated by architecture staff from the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering (SPACE), Queen’s University Belfast. It brings clients, from the not-for-profit, community and voluntary sectors together with first year undergraduate and master’s Architecture students to help them develop an idea or project and produce something remarkable in five days.
Since 2010 Street Society have worked with a range of community partners from Enniskillen, Armagh, Belfast and Derry-Londonderry on a range of projects; more information can be found here.
In March 2016, the Street Society worked in partnership with the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) and communities based in the five Urban Villages. Students worked in partnership with local community organisations in Belfast and Derry-Londonderry.
In 2017 Street Society evolved into Street Studio - further information to follow.
Interface/Contested Space Project
The Foyle Contested Space programme was a schools based initiative made up of three post-primary and five primary schools in Derry/Londonderry. The schools are Lisneal College, St. Cecilia's College, St. Mary's College, Ballougry Primary School, Ebrington Primary School, Lisnagelvin Primary School, Holy Child Primary School and St. John's Primary School.
The core aims of the programme involved offering sustained shared classes, focusing on a number of key areas which impact both on pupils and the community at large. The eight schools shared expertise, resources, space, pupils, energy and ideas. This was so significant because as a collaborative network they represented the city as a whole and demonstrated what can be achieved by working together.
These issues were addressed through a shared and collaborative approach in schools using the Personal Development and Mutual Understanding curriculum at Key Stage 2 and the Learning for Life and Work curriculum at Key Stage 3. The pupils in all the schools came together on a weekly basis in their different uniforms and in each other’s schools to learn about the very real issues that affect them and their community. Pupils learnt together about being safe online, the impact of social media, making informed choices, health/sexual health and adopting pro-social lifestyles. The contested space programme prepared our children and young people for life in a vibrant 21st Century City.
Academics from the Queen’s University School of Education worked in partnership of eight schools in the City of Derry/Londonderry. The schools were funded by OFMDFM and Atlantic Philanthropies (Interface/Contested Space Project) and collectively addressed a series of social need themes over three years.
Funding for the initiative ceased in March 2014; the partnership between the schools continues and has developed to address other issues through working in collaborative partnership.