Mature student who helps others wins first university community prize

Beverley Courtney, from Bedford, who has won the  John Spence Student Community Prize from  Anglia Ruskin University.
Beverley Courtney, from Bedford, who has won the John Spence Student Community Prize from Anglia Ruskin University.

A mature student from Bedford has won an award for her community work.

Beverley Courtney, 43, has been given the inaugural John Spence Student Community Prize for her commitment to voluntary causes.

The social work student is a student ambassador at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus and carries out a range of tasks including supporting first-year students struggling academically and running study groups.

Outside of university, Beverley gives support to victims of crime, including abuse, for a national charity. She also helps run a daily soup kitchen for homeless people and organises and distributes donations of clothing and toiletries.

She said: “I feel very humbled and honoured to be given this prestigious award. I will continue to commit to local charities and fund my evenings at the soup kitchen. It is essential we show compassion and support people who are experiencing difficulties.

“This award means so much to me. It validates the charities and my commitment to the causes I am truly passionate about.”

The new annual prize recognises students who go out of their way to help and support others, whether within the Anglia Ruskin community or in the wider area.

The prize is named after Anglia Ruskin Governor and honorary degree holder John Spence, who himself contributes to a variety of charitable causes in Chelmsford. Every year one person studying in Cambridge and one in Chelmsford will receive the award and £100.

Mr Spence said: “It’s been a great pleasure to learn about the many Anglia Ruskin students who received nominations for the prize this year, and I’m delighted that we have two outstanding winners.

“Both they and the other nominees are all making enormously valuable contributions to the lives of others in their communities, both inside and outside university life.

“I congratulate them all on their achievements, and I hope that in the coming year, many other students will feel inspired to action in their own way.”