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“I would like to personally congratulate Nathan for such a fantastic achievement – and all while studying during very challenging times” – Professor Angus Laing, Dean of Lancaster University Management School
Nathan Shoesmith, a second year student from Lancaster University Management School and active member of the University’s Work in Progress community, has recently been awarded the distinguished Diana Award for social action and humanitarian pursuits in both political activism and charity work. An award established in 1999 in memory of Princess Diana and her belief that “young people have the power to change the world”, the Diana Award is focused on change with their mission being “to foster, develop and inspire positive change in the lives of young people”. Despite only being 20 years old, Nathan has certainly achieved this, inspiring a “positive change in the lives of young people” through ‘The Speaker’ – a website that delivers “impartial and inclusive coverage of the latest political news…to inspire the next generation in politics” – as well as charity work, raising awareness and £10,000 for charities including Marie Curie and the East Angelian Air Ambulance respectfully. He has also co-authored his first book called ‘2020 as it Happened’, as well as completing countless hours of community work ranging from PE lessons for primary school children to teaching swimming lessons to volunteering in a care home.
After receiving such a distinguished award, SCAN were quick to arrange an interview with Nathan to discuss his journey towards these incredible accomplishments and what is to come in the future. We began with Nathan’s efforts to increase political awareness amongst young people. As previously mentioned Nathan has played an active role in ‘The Speaker’ which he actually co-founded. Through this platform which has grown from strength to strength, Nathan has written articles, given talks and even co-written his first book featuring adapted reports and analysis of political campaigns that came about due to the pandemic. For anyone to even begin writing a book, it’s considered a tremendous achievement so to see a student having written his first book alongside his studies is quite remarkable. Even more remarkable when considering all of Nathan’s additional commitments, not only ‘The Speaker’ but also his continuous charitable and social action efforts. Nathan has raised £10,000 for charities as a young person, including Marie Curie and the East Anglian Air Ambulance. When discussing this, Nathan expressed his motivation behind all his charity work has always been to make a difference and to help improve the lives of others. Nathan’s campaigns raised over £2000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance – this fundraising and the work of countless other fundraiser volunteers has allowed the charity to build a new base that has recently allowed them to commit to 24/7 operations. This is an astonishing achievement and will help to save many lives.
Moving away from his own achievements, we briefly discussed what advice he would give to others trying to make a difference but not knowing where to begin. To this Nathan replied succinctly; “identify something you’re passionate about, look at the potential ways you can respond to the situation, back yourself and be resilient, lots of things take time”. For support, Nathan recommended the University Work in Progress team who, in light of #thankcaster, he personally thanked for all the support they have offered him. Having a close network of people supporting and encouraging you on your journey can make all the difference.