Graduate gift helps students tackle housing problems

Two final-year students are working to drive solutions to challenges of housing and social injustice, thanks to a bursary in memory of Birmingham graduate and honorary doctorate Jane Slowey CBE (BA 1974, DUniv 2014).

Megan Scanlon is looking at the importance of somewhere to live for those leaving prison, to help them build a new life and avoid falling back into crime, and how Universal Credit has impacted this. Shayne Saysell is investigating how residents feel about police wearing cameras when visiting their streets and homes – does this affect how safe and private people feel?

The financial support means Megan and Shayne, who are studying in the School of Social Policy, don’t have to work part-time during their studies to afford their own living costs, so they can focus on research that will help others with housing difficulties.

The bursary embodies what mattered most to alumna Jane Slowey, whose passion for social justice as a Trustee at Commonweal Housing inspired the charity to create a bursary in her name.  Commonweal chose to work with Birmingham’s School of Social Policy to understand and change issues around housing – homelessness, Generation Rent, housing supply shortages, social exclusion and more.  

Ashley Horsey, CEO at Commonweal, says: 'Megan and Shayne are creating vital new understanding of housing needs. Stable accommodation is the bedrock for building a good life, from which people can seek to overcome other challenges in their lives. I believe Jane would have been excited about the work Megan and Shayne are doing, and proud to be part of creating the next generation of social justice and housing campaigners.'

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