Hull Children’s University Receive a Weston Charity Award

On Wednesday 14th June, Partnership Manager Rose James and Trustee Mike Jackson travelled to Think Tank in Birmingham to be presented with a Weston Charity Award from the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Hull Children’s University are one of 17 lucky small charities to have been selected from hundreds of applicants and will take part in the year-long programme, supported by Pilotlight, in which we will receive one-to-one support from some of the countries top business professionals. These professionals help charities to plan for sustainability, development and growth so that they finish the process stronger, more effective and fit for the future.

Aswell as the fantastic support that we will receive over the year from Pilotlight, we also received a grant of £6,500 from the Garfield Weston Foundation.

We are extremely excited to be a recipient of a Weston Award and we are very much looking forward to working with out “Pilotlighters” to help our charity grow.

To find our more about the Weston Charity Awards visit

To find out more about Pilotlight visit



Lots of Laughs with Lucy Beaumont

Why did the toilet paper roll down the hill? To get to the bottom.

This and other comedic gems were unleashed today as youngsters tried to impress Lucy Beaumont with their best jokes as the Hull comedian dropped in to KCOM’s Learning Zone to surprise Year 3 and 4 children from Ings Primary School who were on our Ambassadors of Hull Experience.

As well as talking about her life as an award winning comedian, Lucy also took questions from the youngsters which she said was a lot more fun than “trying to make a pub full of drunk people laugh”.

She said: “It’s wonderful to be thought of as an ambassador for Hull because I’m really proud of my home city.

“I think the best advice I can give to the kids is to believe in yourself and enjoy what to do.

“Don’t feel silly about what you want to be, follow your dreams and you can be whatever you want to be.”

Answering questions from the Ings Primary youngsters Lucy revealed she became a comedian because “I’m not very good at anything else”, that she wishes she’d tried harder at sport at school, that her favourite place in Hull is the Marina and that she has met both One Direction and Ed Sheeran.

She also revealed her secret for writing good jokes.

“The one way to tell if something is funny or not is to go and tell someone and, if they laugh, you know it’s funny,” she said: “And if they don’t you go and cry somewhere.”

Lucy, who recently had a baby daughter called Elsie Josephine with her husband Jon Richardson, also asked the youngsters if they liked their siblings and whether she should give Elsie a baby brother or sister or “let Elsie be an only child.”

The general consensus was brothers and sisters are a good thing.

Year 4 pupil Scarlett Sylvester, eight, said she had loved meeting the Hull-born star.

She said: “It was great because I’ve never met anyone famous before and she answered all our questions and was really nice. I want to be a comedian when I grow up.”

Lucie Route, seven, added: “It was nice because she told us about her life and helped us figure out things. She is funny.”



In the Spotlight: Volunteer Mentors

Hull Children’s University has over 200 volunteer mentors from many different walks of life. Our mentors are essential to our programme and we are so grateful to each and every one of them for taking their time to support our children.

Mentors accompany our children on the experiences we provide and support them in their learning throughout the day. We have mentors who are students, firemen, police officers, retired teachers, nurses, business owners, factory workers and many more.

Two of our mentors told us about their experiences volunteering with Hull Children’s University:


When the founder and former director of Hull Children’s University, John Buttrick, approached BBC Hull in 2011 about the prospect of working with them to create a new module, Kate was asked by her manager to lead the module. After seeing how much the children enjoyed the module and relished the opportunity for extra-curricular learning, Kate decided to volunteer as a mentor for other Hull Children’s University experiences in her own free time.

Since becoming a mentor, Kate has volunteered on a huge variety of experiences, from the locally based Ambassadors of Hull, which sees the children learn more about their city through different activities such as designing and conducting a survey, to the residential Night at the Museum experience which takes the children all the way to London for a sleep over at the Natural History Museum. Her favourite trip so far has been the London with Parliament experience as the long days with lots of walking around London really give the mentors a chance to get to know the children.

Kate has found working as a mentor thoroughly enjoyable and has learnt a great deal about herself through the experience. She would definitely recommend being a mentor to anyone who is looking to help inspire and encourage some of the most deserving children in our area. She believes that by building confidence within children and giving them an insight into experiences they might not otherwise have, it will encourage them to commit more to their studies and see the benefits of their work, which in turn will give them a far greater chance of success in the future.


Dave has been working as a mentor for the Hull Children’s University for 10 years now. Back in 1997, when he was working at Smith & Nephew, the company sent round an email asking for volunteers to help with the Hull Children’s University. After listening to the aims and aspirations of the charity, his interest was sparked.

Dave has been on many different classroom and non-classroom based modules over the years and has enjoyed all of them. He believes that these experiences add another dimension to the school experience by improving literacy and numeracy skills, and life experiences outside the classroom.

The benefits of the experiences do not only fall on the children. Dave has found that since starting volunteering with the Hull Children’s University, he has become more confident, out-going and willing to take on new experiences. He feels that if you can be a good listener, and treat the children with an open and positive mind, then both the children and the adult mentors benefit from these experiences.




A knockout visit from Tommy Coyle!

Boxer Tommy Coyle is used to enduring punches in the ring, but he faced a barrage of a different kind when he was interviewed by children taking part in our Ambassadors of Hull experience.

Tommy was guest of honour at KCOM’s Learning Zone on Carr Lane, during which he answered questions from year three pupils from St James’ Academy, in east Hull.

Among the questions posed to the 27-year-old fighter were: “Why did you start boxing?”, “Where do you keep your trophies?”, “What would you do if you weren’t a boxer? and “Does it hurt when you get punched?”.

After finishing the Q&A, Tommy spent time signing autographs, posing for photographs with the children and dishing out high-fives.

“It’s my job to give something back to the community, which has supported me not only in victory but in defeat too,” Tommy said afterwards.

”The next generation are going to look after my children so it’s my job to give back to the community. The children asked some good questions.”

Among those to quiz Tommy were eight-year-olds Poppy Edwards and Broady Parker.

Poppy said: “I was shocked when I saw it was Tommy Coyle. I watch boxing all the time with my dad and I’ve always wanted to meet a boxer – so to meet Tommy was great. My dad will be very jealous.

“Tommy was such a nice guy. He’s a real Hull hero. I think the best thing I learnt from him was never to give up and to keep trying and trying.”

Broady added: “I was speechless when Tommy walked in. We had been learning about him before he arrived and he’s a really good boxer, so to meet him was special.

“He’s a cool guy. I think the most important thing I learnt was how many belts he has won.”

Tommy also took the opportunity while at Carr Lane to see a van bearing his name, as part of KCOM’s initiative to name all of its 95 vans after famous people from Hull during the Hull 2017 UK City of Culture year.

“I’m a kid off the estate that, four or five years ago, was selling fruit and vegetables and now people are naming vans after me!” Tommy said.

Peter Levy pays our mini Ambassadors a surprise visit!

On Tuesday 9th May, whilst learning about famous Hull ambassadors as part of their Ambassadors of Hull Experience at the KCOM Learning Zone, St Richard’s RC Primary school received a surprise visit from BBC Look North presenter Peter Levy!

The children has been imagining what it would be like to interview Peter just before his arrival and were taking part in a pretend interview with one of our volunteers – they didn’t expect the real thing to walk through the door just seconds later!

Peter sat down and took lots of questions from the children. Among the tough questions posed at the presenter were: “Who was your favourite teacher?”, “What would you change about Hull?”, “Do you have any pets?” and “what colour did your hair used to be?”.

Consummate professional Peter tactfully dodged a question asking him which Hull rugby team he supported and also who was his favourite person from Hull, although the children did manage to discover Peter doesn’t have any pets, that he would like to interview Prince Charles and that he wanted to be a pilot growing up.

Year six pupil Rachel Szabo, ten, said she was delighted to meet a real life celebrity while learning what it means to be an ambassador for her home city.

She said: “I was really excited to meet Peter as I’ve never met a celebrity before and it was nice to be able to ask him some questions. I watch him on the TV so to see him in real life was really nice.”

Mercedes Griffin, also ten, said: “I got goose bumps when he walked out. It’s good to meet someone famous in real life. I want to be a news presenter when I grow up too.”

Talking about living in Hull, Peter, who is marking his 30th year on the TV this year, said: “I think Hull is fabulous. In the past two or three years it has all really come together in Hull and it is almost unrecognisable from what it was when I first moved here in 2002.

“I was walking around the waterfront the other day and it just looks completely different, there’s a definite buzz about the city.”

As the Year Ten grilling continued, Peter revealed he’d like to see Prime Minster Theresa May visit Hull, that his favourite teacher at school was English teacher Mr Shelton and that he lost his first wobbly tooth at the age of five.

Peter is the latest celebrity to take part in the Hull Children’s University Ambassadors of Hull Experience, which is aimed at teaching youngsters about being a positive role model for the city.

Former Apprentice winner, TV pundit and Hull parliamentary candidate Michelle Dewberry and former Hull City and England footballer Nick Barmby have both previously visited the learning Zone to meet more school children.


A visit from a real life Ambassador of Hull!

On Monday 10th April, some young people from our CIC Programme took part in our Ambassadors of Hull Experience. But this wasn’t a regular Ambassadors of Hull, this time one of the Ambassadors the children learn about actually appeared!

Michelle Dewberry, business woman and winner of the BBC’s The Apprentice, is extremely proud to come from Hull and agreed to surprise the children when she heard that she had been named as one of the City’s Ambassadors.

On the Ambassadors of Hull Experience, the children learn about famous figures from Hull’s past and present. On a list of famous Hull ambassadors on the wall, Michelle comes in at number eight, beneath the likes of Amy Johnson and William Wilberforce.

Some of the youngsters in the CIC Programme haven’t had the easiest of starts in life and their stories are ones Michelle, who suffered domestic violence growing up, can identify with.

“I really wanted to do this because I understand what these kids have gone through and what challenges they have had to face. I can relate to their stories,” she says.

“I feel very, very strongly about trying to help people, particularly young people who are struggling through adversity.

“Hopefully they’ll look at me and see someone who has come from the same place as they have; has struggled with adversity but has managed to get through it.

“I want them to know that biography doesn’t equal destiny,” she says.

“If you look around the kids in the room there’s so much talent in there. They’re all as bright as a button, it’s just about letting them know they can aspire to be whatever they want to be.

“We should have an event where as many successful people from Hull could be brought onto the stage as possible to talk about their journeys and to inspire kids that they can do something with their lives.”

Michelle is a shining example of someone who has “done something with her life” and she really inspired the children in our CIC Programme:

“I thought Michelle’s story was really inspirational. It’s touching and teaches you life lessons like you should ignore bullies and set goals in life for yourself and you can achieve them,” one of our children commented.

We would like to thank Michelle for taking the time to visit our children and for helping us raise their aspirations for the future. Truly an Ambassador of our City!

The Hull 2017 School Reporters take over the BBC!

Hull Children’s University has teamed up with the Hull 2017 team and The BBC to offer the opportunity for talented young people to become the Hull 2017 official BBC School Reporters. A school is selected for each season and the school nominates 1o of it’s pupils to take part.

Pupils from Stepney Primary School were chosen to cover Season 1, “Made in Hull” and started their work (literally) with a bang as they covered the Hull 2017 opening fireworks display.

Next, they had the honour of being the first people to walk into the newly refurbished Ferens Art Gallery when it reopened and even interviewed the Lord Mayor!

The School Reporters have also covered the launch of the Lines of Thought exhibition at the University of Hull and the arrival of The Blade in Queen Victoria Square.

A special thanks goes to Kofi Smiles and Kate Childs from the BBC who have worked closely with our School Reporters every step of the way.

Over the past 3 months the School Reporters have shown a huge progress, including increased confidence, speaking and listening skills and teamwork.

To round off their Season, the children were given the opportunity to put together their very own BBC Look North programme to put together everything that they have learnt during their time as School Reporters. Each of the children took on a different role including news anchors, reporters, sound and lighting, camerawork and weather reporting. I’m sure you will agree that they did an amazing job! Check out their Look North Programme Below!


Streets of Hull

East Hull primary school children haven taken to the streets of Hull to ask people what they think about our city.

Around 30 children from Southcoates Primary School took part in Hull Children’s University’s Ambassadors of Hull experience, which saw them spend the day in the city centre finding out about the city’s greatest champions.

Watch: Pupils quiz members of the public about what they think of Hull

From poet Philip Larkin and campaigner William Wilberforce to comedian Lucy Beaumont and boxer Luke Campbell, the children spent the morning learning what an ambassador in a learning space at KCOM in Carr Lane before taking to the streets.

They then spent the afternoon trailing around the city centre, taking a look at the statues of some of Hull’s best-loved ambassadors.

More news: Next generation of artists born as kids spend a day at Ferens Art Gallery

These included Andrew Marvell outside Holy Trinity Church, William Wilberforce outside Hull College, and Amy Johnson in Prospect Street.

The children also hunted out the copper tops on some of the older buildings, spotted the fish along the pavings in Old Town and admired The Blade, while speaking to representatives from Siemens about the sculpture.


Year 6 pupil Harrison Donkin said: “I think it’s been really good and really interesting because I didn’t know that there were that many ambassadors from Hull.

“I think the most interesting bit was when we asked people what they thought about Hull. A lot said ‘I was born and bred in Hull’, that was quite a common phrase. A lot of people said they didn’t want it to change because they loved it how it is.”

More news: Kids will love this new attraction coming to St Stephen’s

Fellow pupil Chalis Willis said it was good to supplement her existing knowledge about the history of the city. She said: “It’s made me quite proud to be from Hull.

“It’s been good to find out a little bit more about the history of the city.”


Rosanna James, Hull Children’s University’s partnership manager said: “There are some children in Hull who might never had the opportunity to come into Hull city centre before and it’s about giving them that experience.

“It gives them the opportunity to learn about the city and about the city’s ambassadors too.

“They also get a certificate at the end of it saying they are now a Hull ambassador.”

Hull Children’s University launches into the East Riding of Yorkshire

Building upon the success of 21 years of Hull Children’s University we are delighted to have finally brought Children’s University to the East Riding of Yorkshire thanks to grant funding from British Foreign Schools Society (until August 2017).

Lisa Whitton, East Riding Manager of Hull Children’s University said, “I feel incredibly proud to be leading on the expansion of Hull Children’s University in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It’s so important to inspire and raise the aspirations of our children at a young age and show them the incredible array of career opportunities available, linking the work they do in school is an essential part of achieving their future goals.”

The following eight East Riding Schools are part of the expansion of Hull Children’s University:.

  •  Bay Primary School, Bridlington
  •  Burlington Junior School, Bridlington
  •  Easington CE Primary Academy
  •  Hildethorpe Primary School, Bridlington
  •  Hornsea Burton Primary School
  •  New Pasture Lane Primary School, Bridlington
  •  Quay Academy, Bridlington
  •  Withernsea Primary School

We are also proud to work alongside the staff and Pupils at Harland House at Bridlington School who are part of our passport initiative.

The initial aim of our expansion work, was for each of the schools to take part in three of our learning experiences of their choice to bring areas of the National Curriculum to life. By using our concepts, ‘I’m Intelligent’, ‘I’m ambitious’, ‘I’m fit’, ‘I’m Healthy’, ‘I’m proud of my city’ and ‘I’m thinking of my future’, we are aiming to broaden their horizons and open their eyes to new experiences. Schools have requested 39 experiences, a 62.5% increase of the initial target!

Lisa said, “I have received a warm welcome when visiting schools, and they are genuinely excited about the range of learning experiences we have on offer. It has been our aim to add a new dimension to current learning in the classroom bringing these experiences to life.  For example, I have recently returned from taking Burlington Junior down to London for a ‘Kip on a Ship’ aboard HMS Belfast.  For some pupils, this was their first time on a train down to the capital City.  It was incredible to see the look on their faces as we came off the Tube walked towards the Tower of London for our visit and workshop, across the River the children looked on in awe as they saw for the first-time HMS Belfast where they would be sleeping.  Some of the children kept saying this is the best day of my life”

With the grant funding the programme until August, it is important that we raise funds to allow the expansion to continue. If you would like to be part of this exciting next chapter of our work please contact Lisa Whitton, East Riding Manager of Hull Children’s University or 07759 300495.

Berlin Marathon

On Sunday 25th September, Denys Fell and his two sons took on the huge task of running the Berlin Marathon – all to raise money for Hull Children’s University!

Denys owns Densholme Farm and allows us to take classes of children there for a fantastic educational day at the farm, delivered by Denys and his team.

Denys gave us a great account of the day:

“The Brandenburg Gate, the most famous landmark in Berlin, will never be the same for three of the farm’s running team.

Denys, Steve and Chris (father & sons) ran through the iconic building on Sunday, September 25, towards the end of the 26 miles road race through scenic Berlin at this year’s marathon in near-perfect conditions. The photo shows them pictured after the race with their medals near the Gate.

It was a personal best for Steve at just 13 seconds over three hours and almost one for Denys at four hours and thirty minutes.

Thanks go to Hull Trains and British Airways for very punctual travel, to the very hospitable German hosts, and to all our sponsors who have so far contributed to around £1400 for the fantastic Hull Children’s University.

What a memorable marathon!”

We are very grateful to the team for choosing to fund-raise for Hull Children’s University. Well done Denys, Steve and Chris!

Please show your support and donate to their page

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