Professor Carol Fuller and Dr. Maria Danos’s ‘Marvellous Mums’  project got shortlisted for the University’s 2020 Research Engagement and Impact Awards. With almost 40 submissions from across the University this year, only 12 projects got shortlisted. According to the Awards webpage, “The Awards recognise and reward people at the University who undertake or support high-quality engagement and impact activities.” The project was also shortlisted for the 2019 competition.

The programme sets out to empower local women, from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, with greater levels of confidence and self-esteem so that they, in turn, can empower their own children with confidence and self-esteem. Our programme is driven by those we seek to support. By developing relationships within the community to support the development of the tools we use, we have been able to develop relationships of trust, de-mystifying the UoR and placing the UoR at the heart of multi-agency programmes directed at the aspirations of under-represented groups. The programme works in partnership within the local community with organisations, such as the Whitely Community Development Association, Home Start, Reading Borough Council Social Work, Alana House and with the mums themselves

There are also many, many examples of individual successes, including three women now in work, three in college, one withdrawing from medication for depression, three having left bad marriages and several women having signed up to weight loss regimes – as examples, and attributed by the mums themselves to the Marvellous Mums programme. Interest in our programme has extended to China, with a colleague in Xi’an awaiting a funding bid which aims to develop Marvellous Mums in a rural community, in her province.

Winners of the Awards will receive £1,000 towards their next engagement activity. The winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in June.