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Will and Saffron smile at the camera

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Two Edge Hill students win national excellence award from professional sporting body

September 29, 2022

Two Edge Hill students have won an excellence award from the professional body for the sport and physical activity sector.

Saffron Quinlan and William Smith, who both graduated with First Class Honours, won the Edge Hill Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) Graduation Prize for their dedication and hard work. 

Saffron, who is following up her undergraduate degree in sports development and management with a Masters in sport, physical activity and mental health, said she was “incredibly honoured” to win the award. 

“It’s lovely to gain this recognition of my hard work over the past three years. I think I won because of how much I engaged with the course and made the most of opportunities the sports department presented us with. I believe my range of professional experience made me stand out.” 

While studying as an undergraduate, Saffron completed two internships with Everton in the Community, the football club’s official charity. She researched the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of care home staff, residents and their families, and explored the need for the charity’s proposed mental health hub The People’s Place. 

“The first internship led me to apply for my role as a healthcare assistant in a residential care home for people with dementia as I felt such a connection with the residents I spoke to. I knew I wanted to continue to work with the elderly and play a part in supporting them through a very difficult period.” 

Saffron also took part in a work placement with Tackling the Blues, a mental health programme for children and young people run by Edge Hill University in partnership with Everton in the Community and Tate Liverpool, and worked as a one-to-one support worker for a young man with autism. 

The 21-year-old from Glossop, Derbyshire added: “I love working with people and knowing I can play a part in improving people’s mental health and wellbeing.” 

William, who graduated with a First Class Honours sports coaching and development degree, is now studying for a PGCE Secondary Physical Education at Edge Hill. 

He said: “Winning the award gave me tremendous pride. When reflecting on the hard work I put into my studies over the past three years, receiving this recognition has made it all worth it. It was great to share the news with my family and see how proud they are. 

“I think my drive and passion to succeed made me stand out. I had an amazing experience at Edge Hill in social and academic settings, balancing both well in order to achieve high marks as well as enjoy myself, meeting friends for life with incredible memories to go with them. 

William, 21, originally from Bradford, hopes to become a PE teacher when he completes his PGCE. 

Kenny Greenough, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Sports Coaching and Development, explained that Saffron and William were selected to receive the national awards – introduced by CIMSPA in partnership with Edge Hill as one of the 10 original higher education institutions granted degree endorsement – in recognition of their “excellent academic and work-related success”. 

He said: “Saffron and William consistently achieved outstanding grades and gained invaluable experience throughout their studies, developing an excellent range of industry employability skills by engaging regularly with placement and other work-related learning opportunities. We are extremely proud of all their achievements.” 

Professor Andy Smith, who leads the University’s work with CIMSPA, added: “We are also immensely grateful to CIMSPA for their continued support in ensuring our sports coaching, management and development degrees prepare students to undertake highly-skilled work on graduation.”

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September 29, 2022


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