Seven Newcastle University students have been given this year’s Best Neighbour on Campus Award (BNOC) for acts of thoughtfulness and kindness in their communities.
Six students received the award for collecting food for a local foodbank on Halloween while another received it for helping a neighbour when somebody tried to break into their car.
On Halloween, 50 students went round the streets of Jesmond collecting any canned or preserved goods that anybody could spare.
The following day, the students donated what they had collected to the Newcastle East Foodbank, in Heaton, which is part of the Trussell Trust group of foodbanks.
The six students who organised the collection – and who have received the BNOC prize – are Luke Barrett, Adonia Hirst, Kerri Robson, Emma Jelpke, Matthew Rodrick and Adam Kinneen.
Kerri Robson commented, “We didn’t know that we’d been nominated, but we obviously feel very honoured to have received it.”
“By going and seeing the amazing work that the Trussell Trust Food Banks do for the community we can now appreciate just how serious an issue the food shortage in the United Kingdom really is, and, as a result, we feel so much more connected to our neighbourhoods’ problems.”
“The Trussell Trust are a truly amazing organisation and they need as much support as possible.”
“If you have a free afternoon or feel like getting involved on any level, get in contact with the Newcastle East Food Bank in Heaton. Maureen and Brian are the kindest people and would be so grateful for any help.”
The Newcastle East Foodbank manager, Maureen Wilkinson, said, “The students organised an alternative trick or treat on Halloween, knocking on doors across Heaton and Jesmond to collect food for us here at the Newcastle East Food Bank and they were all just amazing – going over and above and beyond anything we could ask for.”
“It is always good to hear of the goodwill that’s with our students as they usually get a very hard time with the press and we were thrilled by each one of them who gave their time and energy in helping those in our community who are having a hard time.”
Francesca Ronaldson, a second-year business student originally from Aberdeen, helped out when she saw a criminal trying to break into a neighbour’s car.
Francesca filmed the attempted break-in on her phone before calling the police and then checking on her neighbours to make sure they were OK.
Francesca said, “It feels incredible to be awarded Best Neighbour on Campus. I am so blessed that Steve decided to nominate me and I had absolutely no idea! It was a complete shock.”
“All I did was what I believed to be common decency, and to be told that I positively impacted someone’s life in such a way that they felt the need to share it is deeply heart-rending.”
Francesca was nominated for the award by Steve Strouzer, who said, “Having had issues with student residents in the past, we were touched and delighted that she showed such thoughtfulness and acted on it. We talked about it all day, and her actions outshone any problems with the attempted robbery.”
The seven award-winning students each received a prize of £250.
For more information about the BNOC award – and how to nominate people for it – please go to https://www.ncl.ac.uk/best-neighbour/.
(Featured image courtesy of Joe Lodge, from Flickr Creative Commons)