On 21st September, over 80 alumni came together with donors and supporters to celebrate the achievements of our alumni community. This was the first in-person event of this kind since the pandemic and was part of the Trust’s 25th anniversary year celebration. It was great to see so many people coming along to catch-up, make connections, and share their experiences. 

Our keynote speaker was Kike Oniwinde, who completed a summer school with us back in 2010 and is the Founder and CEO of the Black Young Professionals (BYP) Network. Kike shared her reflections on her journey, from taking part in a summer school which demystified university and set her on the path to studying at University of Nottingham; to pursuing a Master’s in the US, representing Great Britain as an athlete, and founding a network of over 150,000 professionals. She finished by challenging everyone to have the courage to dream big and to pursue change in the world. 

Our three new Alumni Leadership Board co-chairs Yasmin Baker, Rory Daniels, and Tom Seddon then took to the stage to present the awards, selected by our independent panel. The awards recognised contributions to the Sutton Trust community, commitment to the social mobility cause, and as well as outstanding personal and professional achievements. 

We’re proud of all our alumni for their achievements, and grateful to our donors and supporters who support our work. 

Here are the winners and runners-up: 

Community Champion: Laura Block (Winner); Paige Garvin (Runner-up) 

Judges’ comments: 

“Described as an ‘absolute keystone of the Sutton Trust community’, Laura plays a vital role in bringing together the Sutton Trust alumni community. From arranging rounders tournaments with US cohorts, to regularly giving up her time to speak on Sutton Trust panels and support at events, Laura truly ‘gives back’ to others. We hope Laura continues to play such a vital role in our community!” 

Social Mobility Activist: Joshua Best (Winner); Jasmine Andersson (Runner-up) 

Judges’ comments: 

“As founder of The 93% Club Manchester, Joshua has led an invaluable support network for state-educated students. His commitment to social mobility is clear – through speaking at several events about his experiences, to being the Podcast Manager and Co-Host for The 93 Talks, the national podcast of the The 93% Club. He is a true social mobility activist, and we look forward to seeing the role he continues to play in amplifying the voice of state-educated young people.” 

Volunteer of the Year: Amber El-Jabali (Winner); Colleen Cumbers (Runner-up) 

Judges’ comments: 

“Amber clearly embodies what it means to be a volunteer: dedicated, passionate, and always willing to support others. As an alum and team leader of the US programme, her can-do attitude brings people together and ensures all students feel welcomed and celebrated. Beyond the Trust, she is involved with St John’s Ambulance and won a Student Staff of the Year award from Brighton University.” 

Outstanding Achievement: Roheema Yasmin (Winner); Scarlett Westbrook (Runner-up)

Judges’ comments: 

“Roheema’s ambition and resilience to overcome adversity is admirable. Using her experience as a care leaver to inspire and relate to others, Roheema has done outstanding work as a Pathways Mentor and her involvement in her former programme graduation ceremony make her a worthy winner of the outstanding achievement award.”

Winner of the Outstanding Achievement award, Roheema Yasmin

ALB member Daniel Dipper attended and shares his reflections of the night: 

“From volunteering and activism to innovation and determination – it was a privilege to get to meet so many from across the history of the Trust’s programmes as well as hearing about the different paths it has led us on. 

Given that this was the first time the awards have been held in-person since the pandemic, it was great to see the alumni community continuing to grow after the challenges of the last few years. For some it was the first time they had re-engaged with the Trust since taking part in a residential programme in some cases over a decade ago, and it was inspiring to see so much success across a wide range of sectors. 

I found the evening to be hugely enjoyable, and it really underlined the impact of the Trust’s vital work and how thankful many were for its interventions. As the Trust enters its 26th year I hope the alumni community continues to grow and cement our relationships with those who know the challenges to social mobility in UK society.”

We’ll be opening nominations for our 2023 awards early in the new year, so watch this space and our website for how you can nominate!

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