The Issue 
The Issue 
The University of Northampton partnered with Red Thread in 2019, with the aim of creating a staff development opportunity with impact. 
The UON Red Thread Fellowship combines personal and leadership development for staff, which is developed through the Fellowship programme, alongside an innovative partnership with a local charitable organisation, aligned with the University’s commitment to creating a positive social impact. 
Deborah Mattock, Executive Director of Human Resources said: “The University of Northampton has an institution-wide ethos which focuses on staff and students identifying and finding creative solutions to social problems, with the aim of improving people’s lives – we call it Changemaking. The Red Thread Fellowship aligns perfectly with this, and has fast become a real asset within our staff development offering. 
Over 12 months, the eight members of staff from the University of Northampton have worked through the Fellowship programme developing their own leadership and critical personal skills, as well as partnering with four fantastic local charities, to bring about a positive change for the communities of Northampton. 
University staff brought their expertise and unique perspectives to local charities, The Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), Kids Aid, The Hope Centre and Age UK, to work with them on projects looking at enhancements to existing membership schemes, fundraising strategies and awareness building activities and much more. 
Deborah continued: “Through this partnership, the University staff have supported these charities to become more robust and sustainable, which will help them continue to transform lives of people across Northamptonshire. The charities have also benefitted by a funding boost of nearly £3,000, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the University of Northampton Fellowship team.” 
Adrian Spurrell from Red Thread added ‘The University of Northampton have been important partners for The Red Thread Fellowship supporting its growth and development. Not only have they sponsored The Fellowship, but we worked with them to produce an internal version linking in with the University’s changemaker initiative. The first Changemaker Fellowship, working with eight of the university’s leaders and four local charities, brought together the University’s skills and capabilities into Northamptonshire to make a positive social impact. The partnership didn’t stop there as the charities, in turn, sent staff into the university to talk to students about the very real challenges of running a charity today; and also to help students understand the day to day challenges their services users face, whether that was the debilitating impacts of Motor Neurone Disease or the slow decline of Dementia.’ 
Deborah concluded “I’m very proud that these members of staff have approached the Red Thread Fellowship with such passion and tenacity, the work they’ve undertaken over the last year has made a real difference in the communities we serve. I’ve been heartened to hear how empowered this programme has made them feel, not just with their own personal development, but through their impact within the organisations they’ve been working with.” 

Testimonial  “It has been great to be involved in the fellowship this year. I hope our fellows found it valuable too. They have been a great help in helping us formulate and gather substance for our strategy. … they have certainly helped us develop a route map for the work going forward (when we get out of lockdown!). They were really enthusiastic about helping us with fundraising events too”. Chris Wade, MNDA 

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