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University of Lincoln Graduate Establishes Unique Lincolnshire Counselling Hub

thumbnail_Alex Parkin Counselling Hub

A University of Lincoln graduate has established a successful counselling service in Lincolnshire supporting local children, young people and families. Alex Parkin, from Lincoln, graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care from the University in May 2017 shortly after co-founding the successful NW Counselling Hub CIC. Having worked in various care and supporting roles for most of her adult life, Alex felt that there was a gap in the provision and support available. With some communities in Lincolnshire finding it difficult to access mental health support, and counselling services, Alex and co-founder Naomi Watkins recognised the need to make counselling services more accessible in the county. The counselling hub now has a team of eighteen trained counsellors, offering mental health support for local communities as well as training opportunities for those looking to pursue a career in counselling. The hub provides a range of supportive therapies to suit age, need and demand and has been specially designed to create an environment where people feel comfortable and safe to talk. The team also has two therapy dogs.

Alex said: “People can sometimes be waiting months for the counselling support they need in the here and now. By creating the hub ourselves, we have been able to tailor a service for the wider community. Since opening in April 2017, we have been able to help more than 180 people. We believe this is down to the family-friendly feel, our open-minded staff and the lack of waiting lists along with the funding support we can provide.

She said her time at the University of Lincoln studying Health and Social Care had enabled her to develop her ideas.

“The course wasn’t just focused on one way of thinking or one specific idea,” she said. “In addition to the underpinning laws, policies and guidance, the course offered varied modules, viewpoints and learning materials which have enabled me to take a holistic approach to my job now. “I believe being self-employed and running a company has allowed me to use the knowledge even more as I have been able to use the teaching materials and also my tutor’s experiences and knowledge to ensure I shape the business in a way that works for the service user and empowers them. I couldn’t be where I am now without the tutors on the Health and Social Care team.”

Julie Burton, Programme Leader in the College of Social Science at the University of Lincoln said: “Alex is quite simply inspirational. She has taken every opportunity offered while at University and used it to its full advantage.

“Alex actually met her co-director when attending a Domestic Abuse conference organised by the students which led to work-based practice. Alex was also a student rep and we have seen her confidence grow so much during her time studying Health and Social Care.”

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Lincoln Social & Political Sciences Lecturer on Martin Luther King Day


School of Social & Political Sciences Principal Lecturer, Mr Liam McCann has kindly written a brilliant piece for us about Martin Luther King Day and its ongoing importance.

‘The ongoing importance of Martin Luther King Day, our human rights and civil liberties brings together many of the concepts developed in my recent research. As a critical criminologist, the intended pejorative description of criminology as a pilfering discipline, which allegedly fails to respect the academic boundaries of more ‘traditional’ subjects, does not offend me. On the contrary that self-determination to breach academic barriers excites me, as my most recent contributions on Authoritarian Populism, Censorship, Hegemony, Multiculturalism, National Identity and Rendition in Morley, S. et al eds. (2017) A Companion to State Power, Rights and Liberties, Bristol: Policy Press exhibits some of the breadth of my research interests. These specific areas, as my eight earlier contributions to this companion series, are pertinent to the continued relevance of Martin Luther King Day, not just to the USA, but the wider world and certainly Brexit ‘bound’ GB.

The overtly racist USA of the 1960s flaunted authoritarian populism, as white mobs aligned themselves with policing policies and practices which repressed so many others in the Black, LGBT and working class communities of an unambiguously multicultural society, but in denial of that fact. The dominant hegemonic political culture therein sought to resist progressive social and political reforms, and censor and repress their opponents. But with the overtly liberal and Christian Dr Martin Luther King, they struggled to caricature him as a subversive threat. King’s ‘simple’ dream of a world wherein everyone was treated with respect and dignity, and not judged by the colour of their skin, had and has a simple rationale firmly located in classical principles of equality before the law.

But that dream has yet to be achieved, as racism has been reinvigorate by the repugnant caricaturing of purportedly alien cultures, and the alleged threat these pose to a fictional and romanticised ‘western’ culture. The presumption of modernity as an incontestable facilitator of intellectual, political and social progress, is clearly called into question by the contemporary and their regressive attacks on hard-won rights and freedoms. The attempt to reshape American national identity was exemplified in the Black Power salutes at the 1968 Olympics and is echoed contemporarily in the Black Lives Matter kneeling during the American National Anthem. That has led to the predictable attempts to censor and marginalise those Black Americans, whose constrained gestures of protest, is portrayed as an unjust offence and anti-American. Yet at the same time black deaths are too often normalised as the inevitability of being black and therefore allegedly potentially suspect of anything and/or everything.

Martin Luther King was an exemplar of the power of the weak to resist and seek justice. Bernadette Devlin said of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement’s resistance to sectarian discrimination: “If the Black people of America could take on that great state, we could take on this tuppenny-ha’pennyone!”

That Civil Rights inspiration has inspired many of the most socially marginalised and criminalised to challenge their repression and resist their labels as ‘deviants’ and demand respect and social justice. Research may not provide the ‘answer’ but it should always seek to stimulate the necessary reflection upon who and what we are, what we want to achieve and why. Reflecting upon what Martin Luther King achieved invites that necessary and rewarding thoughtfulness.’

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St Barnabas Christmas Donation


Thank you to everyone who donated to the St Barnabas Christmas appeal rather than sending cards this year. £100 was raised for a fantastic cause.

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Lincoln Law’s Diane Ryland Selected as EU Animal Welfare Professional 2018


Congratulations to Lincoln Law School Senior Lecturer Diane Ryland who has been selected as EU Animal Welfare Professional of the Year 2018!

Based on the results of a voting process, Diane was selected in the Innovation and Excellence in Agriculture category of CorporateLiveWire’s annual awards. During the awards process over 100,000 businesses and corporate professionals, the general public and the international base of subscribers were invited to nominate associations, companies & individuals based on their achievements and strengths. Additionally Corporate Livewire’s extensive research team put forward a selection of individuals considered to have excelled within their industry.

Diane, a nominee subsequently shortlisted, was invited to submit details of her research on Animal Welfare Governance in Agriculture, accessible via the following links: and, in relation to her PhD (PT) thesis in progress – together with any notable achievements in the last 12 months. Relevant here was Diane’s participation in Working Group 16 which negotiated the ISO Technical Specification on animal welfare management related to the food supply chain, prior to its adoption by ISO Technical Committee 34 Food Products comprised of 78 Member Countries world wide. ISO Press Release: 

Diane’s long-term strategy is to facilitate raised standards of farm animal welfare in agriculture and to engender increased demand for added-value agri-produce in a global agri-food supply chain, through a proposed framework of soft law tools of governance and market instruments.

An independent judging panel decided upon the most deserving teams, practices and individuals to walk away with one of their prestigious accolades. Award winners gain a place in both digital and printed versions of the published awards winners’ guide (end of March – beginning of April 2018), which will be distributed to over 90,000 businesses and professionals, as well as being distributed in Aspire Airport Lounges around the world.

Congratulations again Diane!

See more of Diane’s research into the need for improvements to the welfare of farmed animals here

Merry Christmas!


We’d like to wish everyone a fantastic Christmas and new year! The College office will be closed from 2pm on Friday 22nd December and will reopen at 8.30am on Thursday 4th January. Just a reminder to switch off and unplug all electrical items before you leave.

Merry Christmas!

Lincoln Law School’s Diane Ryland on International Animal Rights Day


Research undertaken by Diane Ryland, Senior Lecturer in the Law School at the University of Lincoln, is concerned with transnational animal welfare governance in agriculture with the objective of realising in effect the fact that animals are sentient beings able to feel pain and pleasure and experience comfort and distress. Increasingly, farmed animals are recognised as sentient beings with specific welfare needs, if not rights, deserving of respect and improved protection, but the extent to which animal sentience is translated into legally binding standards adequately to ensure the welfare of animals reared in lawful intensive farming practices is questioned.

Diane’s research looks at the global governance of the welfare of food producing animals. It examines the regional / transnational farm animal welfare standards of the European Union and the welfare standards emanating from the international animal welfare standard-setter, the World Organisation for Animal Health in its Terrestrial Animal Health Code concerned with the production systems for certain species of farm animal. Animal Welfare in agriculture is a complex issue in which diverse factors coincide and diverge, for example: science, values, cultures and religion, demographics, economics, politics and trade etc.

Private individual and collective farm assurance schemes have arisen alongside these public standards, with global retail chains sourcing agricultural produce to market in an extended agri-food supply chain. The potential for private standards to go beyond and fill lacunae in the public standards presents an opportunity to raise standards of farm animal welfare and bolster demand for enhanced animal welfare agricultural produce in a global value chain.

The relationship between public and private animal welfare standards is integral to Diane’s research. This interest led to her participation in Working Group 16 meetings held at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Paris, in which International Standardization Organization (ISO) Technical Specification 34700 on animal welfare management related to the food supply chain was the subject of negotiation prior to its adoption by ISO Technical Committee 34 Food Products on 1 December 2016 [General requirements and guidance for organizations in the food supply chain, 01-12-2016 [ISO/TS 34700:2016(E)]].

Diane’s research explores the implications of standardisation and proposes a framework of soft law tools of governance facilitative of raised standards of farm animal welfare, together with suggested market instruments, for example an enhanced animal welfare label, to engender increased demand for added-value agri-produce. She is researching for a PhD (Part Time) in Hybrid Animal Welfare Governance in Agriculture in the Law School at the University of Leeds, supervised by Professor Michael Cardwell, Professor of Agricultural Law.

This research, furthermore, has prompted both a nomination and shortlisting for an innovation in agriculture award, pursuant to which the education and awareness of the welfare needs of animals during their lives and the potential prospects of alleviating animal suffering through the recommendations advanced may reach a wider audience.

School of Social and Political Sciences Commemorating the Centenary of the Russian October Revolution


To commemorate the centenary of the October Revolution, the School of Social and Political Sciences was pleased to invite Chris Marsden, the National Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), to introduce a film screening of Tsar to Lenin, a 1937 documentary record of the Revolution directed by Herman Axelbank. The film features original footage from over 100 different sources, arranged chronologically with narration by Max Eastman. 88 students attended the screening, which was followed by a lively 70-minute question and answer session.

Opinions about the Revolution and its legacy were strongly divided, and students are to be commended for their first-rate contributions. Important issues were discussed, such as historical truth, censorship, and the politics of memory. Critical questions were asked concerning the correct interpretation of 1917, the differences between the First, Second, and Third Internationals, and the fault lines between communism and fascism. Also discussed were the role of nationalism and war in sustaining capitalist social relations, the role of fourteen imperialist armies in undermining the new workers’ state, and the antagonistic relationship between Trotskyism and Stalinism.

The latter stages of the discussion addressed the contemporary relevance of Tsar to Lenin. The end of the Cold War did not mark “the End of History” (Fukuyama) or the end of the “short twentieth century” (Hobsbawm), Mr. Marsden argued. On the contrary, the intervening years have seen historically unprecedented levels of social inequality worldwide, never-ending wars by the leading capitalist powers, and the utter failure of mainstream politics – on both the right and the left – to do anything about these fundamental issues. Tsar to Lenin, it was argued, shows that an alternative – i.e. a state run by and for the working class – is possible, but only with the requisite revolutionary leadership and only from the perspective of proletarian internationalism.

All in all, this was an extremely high-quality session that would have continued beyond its allotted two and a half hours had time not run out. Twelve students (one in seven) came to shake Mr. Marsden’s hand and to thank him in person after the session, suggesting that Marxist ideas alleged to be discredited after 1989 are once again finding resonance within the student community.

Original post by Dr David Hughes

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School of Education Dr Joss Winn Writes Piece for Times Higher Education


Dr Joss Winn has recently written an opinion piece for the Times Higher Education website, reporting on the recent conference, Making the Co-operative University.  In part, the conference builds on research that Joss and Prof. Mike Neary have been undertaking into co-operative higher education since 2010.

“Last week, the Co-operative College, established in Manchester in 1919, hosted a conference on ‘Making the Co-operative University’ with the intention of exploring its role in supporting and co-ordinating a federated model of co-operative higher education.

Throughout the day, there was a sense of anticipation and historic responsibility among the 90 delegates who were told that in 1909, W. R. Rae, Chair of the Co-operative Union educational committee, had addressed the Union and stated that “What we want and seek to obtain is a co-operative journey that will end in a co-operative university”.  Writing at a time when there were only 15 universities in the UK, Rae saw the development of a co-operative university as another example of members providing for themselves where the State did not: “So long as the State does not provide it, we must do, as we have in the past, the best we can to provide it ourselves.””

Read the full article on Joss’ blog and further reports from the conference on the Co-operative Higher Education bibliography

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Mel Kerr Nursing Alumni Case Study Video

We spoke to Nursing Alumni, Mel Kerr at the recent Meet the Graduates event and found out what she thought of the course and what she’s been up to since graduation.

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Professor Steve McKay Co-Authors Paper on Financial Hardship


University of Lincoln Professor of Social Research, Steve McKay co-authored a major report with the University of Birmingham’s School of Social Policy which looks at the financial challenges faced by some of the UK’s poorest households as living costs increase. The study found that almost half of those surveyed (46 per cent) believed the outcome of June’s General Election would make their household’s economic situation worse, while 35 per cent believed the result of the poll would make no difference to their financial fortunes and just 6 per cent thought they would benefit over the next 12 months. Steve warns that “the gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing. While those at the top have improved their position relative to others, we’re seeing a higher proportion of people struggling at the bottom and being squeezed in the middle… People are generally more pessimistic about the future following the Brexit vote. This provides even more impetus to tackle the fundamental causes of financial exclusion.”

The report has been referenced in various national newspapers, including The Independent, The Mirror and aol please click on the links to view the articles in full.

Steve also travelled to Princeton University recently to receive a progress prize for his top-scoring submission to the Fragile Families Challenge, a mass collaboration that combines predictive modeling, causal inference, and in-depth interviews to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in the US, you can read more about that here.

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