Homeless research inspires Family Day at London Met

Inspired by London Met research, a Valentine’s Day themed event allowed students to bring their children into the University for one day.
Date: 15 February 2017

London Metropolitan University opened its doors to students' children in a special Valentine’s Day themed event held on 14 February.

‘Love Your Family, Love London Met’ was inspired by Patrick Mulrenan’s, Course Leader for BSc Community Development and Leadership, recent research on the underlying problem of student homelessness in London.

The research found that homeless students faced many challenges in their studies, but were determined to complete their degrees so they would be a role model to their children. As one homeless student said: “I just look at my children and I want them to be proud of me.”

Patrick said: “When I asked students during my research about what made them keep going and continue in their studies, one of the most common things that came up was their children. They wanted to stay at university to make their kids proud. It was also clear that students actually receive a lot of support from their children during their studies.

“I wanted to raise awareness of the challenges facing students across London when it comes to finding accommodation, but also to celebrate the support that children give to their parents at university.”

The students’ children sat in on lectures and were taken on exclusive tours of London Met’s facilities. They also took part in activities such as face painting, a theatre production by BA Theatre and Film students, talks, a treasure hunt and children’s games, led by London Met's Widening Participation team. The team organised a variety of activities to get the children thinking about their future including writing their favourite subjects and ideal careers on London Met Rockets. The games and activities were led by student ambassadors.

The children also discovered more about the University’s sustainability facilities and took away plant pots to grow their own plants at home.

Prisca Shonubi, a third year BSc Community Development and Leadership student, said: “I believe this is a good initiative for mature students, like myself, to attend university with my family. It helps me to explain what university is all about and explain its importance to my kids and how it has helped me.”

A big thank you to the BA Early Childhood Studies students who volunteered time and resources to make this event a success and to Waitrose Holloway Road who donated fruit for the children. The event was organised by Patrick Mulrenan and Kelly Cooper, Principal Lecturer in BA Early Childhood Studies and Head of Health and Early Years.