Skip Navigation

Tonika Stephenson

LLB (Hons) Law

Tonika Stephenson

You feel like the lecturers are not just there to deliver a degree, and you’re not just there to get one. There’s so much more to being at Edge Hill than that.

My life completely changed when I moved to the UK from South America aged 20. I’d come originally for a holiday after completing my first year at the University of Guyana, but one day I was walking through town and spotted an Army recruitment centre. Something made me go in and the next thing I knew I had signed on the dotted line. Within three months of arriving in the UK, I had taken the Queen’s Oath of Allegiance and started an 11 year career as a soldier.

Despite the surprising turn my life had taken, I was still interested in studying and Law particularly fascinated me. After I left the Army on medical grounds, I decided to follow my lifelong passion and begin my legal training.

Edge Hill was the perfect choice for me. Not only was it one of the few universities that accepts the ELCAS (Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Services) qualification, but it also had a nice, family feel to the campus, which reminded me of my close-knit community back home.

Studying Law at Edge Hill has given me one of the greatest opportunities of my life – to work with people affected by the Windrush scandal. These are people that immigrated to the UK after the Second World War and are now struggling to prove their (and their descendants’) right to live here – even if they were born in the UK. I’m part of a volunteer team that works alongside law professionals to help people understand their rights, apply for citizenship and claim compensation under the Windrush Schemes.

Taking on this role was made possible by Edge Hill’s Student Opportunity Fund. Without it, I’d have struggled with the cost of travelling to interview people across the country. Access to legal advice can be very expensive and time-consuming so this project is a real lifeline for people who are already facing so much injustice. It’s a privilege to meet these people, listen their stories and try to help them.