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Celebrating Success at the Science Shop

TOP PRIZE:Lance Wilson, Sam Forson and Adam Williamson

Four University of Ulster students are celebrating this week after receiving awards for theirprojects carriedout with Ulster’s Science Shop.

Each student worked on a community-based project as part of their undergraduate degree.

Sharing first prize at this year's Science Shop Awards event – held this year in the Academy restaurant at the University of Ulster's Belfast campus – were three Interactive Media Arts students –Lance Wilson,Sam Forson andAdam Williamson.

Thethree pals – all students at the University's Coleraine campus –undertook a project with Pavestone,a vocational and leisure rehabilitation centrein Coleraine.

Pavestone has been running a successful social enterprise, FP. McCool & Co, producing bespoke crafts reflecting the beautiful scenery of the North Antrim coast.

The students developed an online web resource, including an online portfolio of contemporary images of the crafts, allowing Pavestone to tap into new web based customers through e-commerce technology.

Rhoda Baxter, Director of Pavestone said:

"The Science Shop has enabled our social enterprise to have an asset which we would not have been able to develop ourselves. This is an excellent way for the University to liaise with the community sector providing access to keen, knowledgeable and skilled students. I am delighted with the result and I hope the students benefited from the experience as much as we did."

The fourth student – Rozeanne McCabe, from Derrylin in Co Fermanagh, who is reading for a degree in Social Policy – won an award for a project withFermanagh Women’s Aid to explore the barriers faced by women in rural and semi- rural areas when seeking help for domestic violence.

This project provided the evidence which the group needed to demonstrate the challenges they face in providing support in a rural setting.

"I found that factors such as isolation, lack of transport, lack of information were all major barriers to women in Fermanagh seeking support ondomesticviolence issues.

"I hope my work will be of value to Fermanagh Women's Aid in helping them get additional resources to do their valuable work," said Rozeanne.

Kerry Flood, Strategic Development Worker forFermanagh Women’s Aid,said Rozeanne's work had already made a big difference: "Through Rozeanne's work we have already been able to secure €56,000 from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin – the first time we've ever been funded by a southern body.

"Themoneywill be used for a cross-border project exploringdomesticviolence and its links with sectarianism, xenophobia and homophobia in the context of rural isolation."

And Rozeanne'sprojectcould yet unlock more funding for the charity: her work underpins anapplication for £120,000 from the UK's Comic Relief tohelpthe charity's childcare team,andwas part of of an application for £500,000 to the Big Lottery Fund, for aninitiativefocused on the needs of older people in relation todomesticviolence.

Theyhope to hear the result of theirapplicationin the New Year.
Claire Mulrone, Manager of the Science Shop at Ulster, said: "These students have been recognised for their valuable and creative contribution to their respective community partners.

"This is an endorsement of the value of Science Shop community engaged research activities at the University of Ulster to the voluntary and community sector right across Northern Ireland.”

ENDS

For further information on the Science Shop at the University of Ulster contact Claire Mulrone at:c.mulrone@ulster.ac.ukor visit:www.scienceshop.org/