Have you got an exciting new job, working on a new project, want everyone to know about your own business, had something published or exhibited? Perhaps you are getting married or had a baby? Whatever your news, we would love to hear about it and share it with your fellow alumni. Drop us an email alumni@cumbria.ac.uk to share your story.

Suzannah Gregson 2, Suzannah GregsonSuzannah Gregson, class of 2019, working with children and families

Suzannah has worked in children’s services in the voluntary and local authority sectors in Cumbria for 16 years and had many qualifications but had not completed a degree. Suzannah sent her professional development portfolio to the University of Cumbria and was offered a place on BA (Hons) Working with Children and Families (Top Up). Suzannah graduated with a 1st in July 2019.

Suzannah works as a focus family area officer within Cumbria County Council

‘Focus Family’ team amongst national top performers

The Cumbria County Council Focus Family are first in the country.

Suzannah Gregson 2, Suzannah GregsonUniversity of Cumbria alumnus, Suzannah Gregson, far right, is proud to be part of such a great team.

The team is celebrating after becoming the first local authority area in the country to have secured all payment-by-results claims allocated to the county.

The team had until March 2020 to secure the funding, but this has been achieved in record time.

The team is responsible for ensuring the delivery of the national troubled families programme. This 'payment by results' approach aims to incentivise whole family working with some of the most complex families in each authority. The team work with partners across all sectors to support this approach and gather the evidence to secure the financial rewards. The programme funding was due to end in March 2020 but has recently been extended by one year.

This money secured has been used to support and trial new approaches to identifying and working with complex families who have multiple issues.


Joe Hardcastle, A photo of Joe HardcastleJoe Hardcastle, class of 2019, photography

Originally from Thirsk in North Yorkshire, Joe says he picked the University of Cumbria’s Brampton Road campus for his degree as it is on the doorstep of the Lake District with numerous photography opportunities.  Joe explains that he was attracted to the course as it was non genre-specific, allowing a lot of exploration, he says: “you were able to choose your own path.”

Joe enjoyed his student days, he states, “university life lived up to all my expectations.”  Recalling one memorable winter “my housemates and I decided we were fed up with the weather, we sat in the yard in our shorts in the snow in March and had a BBQ in -1 degree.”

Joe’s ambition has always been to run his own photography business and he is well on the way.  Joe has exhibited work at the Free Range exhibition in London, at Christmas fayres and a local gallery is now selling his prints.  He is working hard building up his portfolio and website where he promotes and sells his photographs whilst working full-time as a customer team member at Co-op.

Joe Hardcastle 2, Inside of a church Joe is most proud of a recent success, when his photography work received an honourable mention in the architecture category of the Chromatic Awards.  The awards are an international colour photography competition open to both professionals and amateurs.  Work is judged by a panel of experienced professionals.  Joe’s beautiful images of the interior of religious buildings appear on the Chromatic Awards website here https://chromaticawards.com/winners-gallery/chromatic-awards-2019/amateur/architecture/hm/2221 and will appear in their annual book, which is a huge boost to Joe’s photography career.

Keep up to date with Joe’s work on his website here: www.joephoto.co.uk


Charlotte Wynne Smythe, Charlotte Wynne SmytheCharlotte Wynne-Smythe, class of 2018, sports rehabilitation

Charlotte’s great uncle is Dixie Dean, who was a professional footballer for Everton FC in the 1960s.  There is a statue of him outside Goodison Park where the team play.  Inspired by her family legacy, Charlotte has wanted to follow in her great uncle’s footsteps from a young age.

At the age of 15, Charlotte suffered her first knee injury through football and was referred to a physio, she explains, “I was really interested in how physio could help me.”  But the experience proved to be far from positive, Charlotte did not like her therapist and was not happy with the rehabilitation she received which led to more injuries and she eventually had to stop football altogether at the age of 19.

Still with a keen interest in sport, Charlotte looked how to turn her negative experience into a positive.  She explains, “I wanted to help people overcome or prevent injuries as much as possible. Cumbria was the only university Charlotte considered.  She says, “the sports rehabilitation degree was a unique pathway and I read that the University of Cumbria was the best university in the UK to offer this.”

Charlotte now works for Your Spinal Health as a physical therapist.  She got offered the job three days before graduation and says: “I absolutely love working here”.  The technique Charlotte uses in her work is called neuro-spinal reflex, it incorporates nerves, muscles, bone and ligaments, she says, “it’s a difficult technique to explain, but it works, and it works well.  I get to help people and get them back on track with their lives again! It’s such a rewarding job.”

Charlotte’s ambition is to own her own business, but with her current employer expanding, Charlotte will be running her own clinic with her own clients before long, so she is almost there. She says, “I’m proud of myself, and making a name for myself.  A few years ago I thought I wasn’t getting into university at all, and only one year down the line after graduation I’m helping to expand and run a business, I’m pretty chuffed with that.”

Check out Your Spinal Health here.





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