Courtney Giles a 19 year old student from Warwick University has taken on Surrey County Council and won. The council granted complete funding for a youth club for disabled and non-disabled children, which it had previously threatened with closure.
The concluding Council review meeting on Thursday 22 November saw a remarkable number of local sixth formers present and argue their final case for Epsom Phab. They won. The Council has relented and will now fund a new building.
Courtney from Epsom, whose mother is a supervisor at the Phab, has been fighting its closure for over a year. In April, NUS joined the campaign through its innovative I Am The Change programme that saw UK wide students propose causes based on education, the community, the environment, personal development, health and wellbeing, careers or politics, one of which NUS would support.
Courtney Giles’ ‘Save Epsom Phab’ changes was among the highest votes from all over the UK. Through six months of lobbying and campaigning Courtney, NUS and Epsom Phab secured an extra year in their current premises from Surrey County Council. However Courtney and her mother Julia, a supervisor at the Phab, would not give up. Their perseverance resulted in the agreement for their final victorious meeting at the end of last week.
Describing her elation with the result Courtney said:
"After students submitted their proposals for change, people could vote on them online. My change got 5,000 votes. It’s been an absolutely amazing opportunity - it’s helped Phab and more widely it shows you can make a difference even if you think it’s for something small."
NUS president Liam Burns praised the hard work of the campaign saying:
"It’s been really inspiring to see the courage and determination that Courtney and others have applied to this cause, and NUS is proud to support that as a prime example of the positive social contribution that students make to our society."
Be the next Change now at www.nus.org.uk/iamthechange. Voting closes on 21 February and winners will be notified in March 2013.