QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 82 - Page 6

New children’s champion appointed Q MU HAS APPOINTED its first dedicated Children’s University Officer to help boost educational opportunities for youngsters in the East of Scotland.     Hayley Jones brings with her a wealth of experience in delivering a range of widening participation to higher education projects for young people of all ages in Edinburgh. Hayley’s skill-set is well suited to the Children’s University project, having previously worked with the Edinburgh International Science Festival. She is also a QMU graduate, having received a first class BA (Hons) Drama & Theatre Arts in 2011. QMU is the first higher education institution in the east of Scotland to host the Children’s University, which aims to help school children, aged between seven and 14 years of age (and five and six year olds with their families), become confident learners and broaden their horizons. The initiative strives to raise children’s aspirations, encourages them to learn in different ways, and rewards them for taking part in a wide variety of learning activities outside of school hours. QMU has taken the lead in establishing the Children’s University in the east of Scotland by working in partnership with schools across Midlothian and East Lothian Councils. Commenting on her new role, Hayley said: “I have a real passion for widening access to higher education and believe that the Children’s University project is a fantastic way to encourage and support young people to enrich their learning in their own time. “There is strong evidence to suggest that taking part in extra curricular activities raises attainment within schools, and the Children’s University is a fantastic project that promotes this. I look forward to working with local schools, businesses and the University staff to develop this already thriving project.” Hayley’s appointment means that QMU will be able to implement the scheme in many more local primary and secondary schools in East and Mid Lothian. ❒ View the Queen Margaret Children’s University film at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr_bHaHTYKA 6 QMYOU / Community Engagement and Widening Access Physical activity programme improves health through community engagement We all know that physical activity is critical for health and wellbeing, but so many people struggle to incorporate it into their daily routines. Scotland continues to be known internationally for its poor health record which can be linked to lifestyle – specifically poor diet and lack of fitness. Heart disease and diabetes are major issues affecting the population, not to mention the significant health inequalities that are so prevalent across Scotland. Throughout its history, QMU has always responded to the most important and pressing issues affecting our society. In response to the health issues affecting our country today, the University now has a physical activity champion, Dr Jane Culpan, who is leading the