Social policy graduate takes the stage at National Resilience Conference

Categories: School of Health and Society

A recent graduate of the University of Salford’s Social Policy course was invited to address the National Conference on Societal Resilience in Manchester earlier this week. 

Nadine wearing a black cap

We wanted to highlight Nadine Travers’ extraordinarily rapid rise in the social policy field for International Women’s Day.

She’s now the founder of a network helping more than 300 disadvantaged young people across Greater Manchester called ST4ND engaging and supporting the most vulnerable children and young people in society, many of whom are often missing from school. As such they are considered to be ‘hard  to reach’ but are often at the highest risk of criminal and sexual exploitation and peer violence. All too often they are on the cusp of entering the criminal justice  system. 

Nadine is also currently a Trustee at the Poverty Truth Network. She advises Greater Manchester Combined Authority on Holiday Hunger and is part of the Joseph Rowntree Foundations Grassroots Poverty Action Group, contributing towards influencing national policy from a poverty perspective. 

As her tutor and course leader Dave Beck said: “Many will remember Nadine, a recent graduate, who is very open about her background and upbringing through the care system, with undiagnosed dyslexia and neurodiverse conditions which made it very difficult for her to be a student at school.

“When she joined Social Policy at Salford as a mature student, she also didn't have very high expectations of herself, as she thought that University wouldn't be right for her. But she has ended up really finding her place, not just at Salford Uni, but deep in the Social Policy world too.”

We caught up with Nadine to congratulate her on the recognition she’s receiving and to ask about her current work. She recalls how a friend had applied to do a social work degree at UoS and encouraged her to come to an open day. Without this incentive she never would have even considered herself suitable for University.

“During the open day event I ended up speaking with Karen Kinghorn, who said I had to do the Social Policy course, she said I’d be a powerhouse!”

Nadine had spent much of her childhood and youth in hospitals, foster homes and boarding schools. She describes herself as at “high risk of sexual harm and of being criminally exploited” despite being part of the care system, which she now says failed her.

She grew up with a driven desire to change society and try to make prospects better for young people on the edge of society, especially those in trouble with authority and the police in particular.  But she did not know how to channel her energy, until she came to University of Salford.

“I’m very vocal and I can be very challenging,” she said. “I was labelled as a disruptor, but now I know that I can be a positive disruptor and I can use that to help change things for the better.”

Now Nadine is focusing all her energy on sourcing stable funding for the youth networks she has worked so hard to build up. She has also established an Alternative Educational Provision due to the alarming numbers of children and young people “missing from school”  - a concern which Rachel De Souza, Childrens Commissioner For England is continually highlighting at a national level. 

“Without my degree from Salford there’s no way I’d have been involved in this kind of work. Karen Kinghorn and Dave Beck really encouraged me and now I have so much more confidence than I did just four years ago.”

Everyone who knows her at University of Salford wishes Nadine well and hopes she finds the support and security that her pioneering work – and she - so richly deserves.

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