Contribution to Society Award - UK

This award recognises a graduate’s positive contributions to the lives of others, locally or nationally. Meet the shortlisted finalists:

Shani Dhanda

BA (Hons) Event & Venue Management Class of 2011

Broadcaster, Disability Inclusion Specialist and Social Entrepreneur
Diversability, Asian Woman Festival & Asian Disability Network

Nomination by Julian Cayman:

Shani Dhanda is a multi-award-winning inclusion specialist and social entrepreneur listed as one of the UK's most influential disabled people and BBC's 100 Women 2020. As a South Asian woman who experiences disability, Shani has taken the change she wants to see in the world into her own hands. She has founded numerous organisations to improve representation and challenge social inequality globally: The Disruptive Platforms Are United By The Common Purpose Of Empowering Underrepresented Communities; Diversability; Asian Woman Festival and Asian Disability Network. Shani was the face of LinkedIn's first TV ad, and LinkedIn changemaker, sitting within the top 0.09% of most influential members in the UK. Shani has been in Eastenders, is a panelist on Loose Women and Jeremy Vine on Channel 5. Shani is a trustee of Leonard Cheshire, Vice-President of Asian Business Chamber of Commerce, Cultural Advisory Council Member for ITV and advisor on disability screen representation at the British Film Institute. Shani brings the voices of disabled people and organisations to policy development for the Government's Disability Unit, the Cabinet Office. Shani helps organisations break barriers and integrate inclusion into their business frameworks and has shared speaking stages with Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton.

Luke Cato

BA (Hons) Sports Studies Class of 2012

REAL Project

Nomination by Julian Smith:

Luke is a BAME graduate of BA (Hons) Sport Studies. He has set up his own organisation to raise awareness of child exploitation such as county lines and knife crime. The REAL project vision is to equip young people with practical knowledge to live safely and responsibly in our ever-changing world. Their youth violence crime prevention packs provide teachers, facilitators, parents and guardians with the early intervention tools needed to impact young people. They hope to achieve this by working with schools, agencies, individuals, community groups, as well as parents and guardians who are passionate about young people succeeding in all spheres of life. Luke has also returned to the University to support and deliver at a range of events.

Nicola Stratton

Deaf Studies & Linguistics Class of 2002

Founder and Director
Zebra Uno

Nomination by Louise Rhodes MBE:

Deaf Entrepreneur Nikki Stratton studied Deaf Studies and Linguistics at Bristol and Wolverhampton before founding Zebra-Uno in 2003 with her business partner, Marilyn Willrich. This deaf-led company aims to break down communication barriers and facilitate effective communication between deaf and hearing people across the UK. Nikki is also well known for her TV appearances and as an award-winning presenter for Channel 4’s ‘Vee TV’. She has also appeared as an in-vision signer for a wide range of channels including BBC One and Two, the Cartoon Network and CBeebies. Nikki has also been involved with several directing projects and has presented and led on translation film projects. Zebra-Uno includes their media/film production arm set-up in 2003 as well as the Interpreting service (Zebra-Access) and the training/consultancy service, both set up in 2005. In 2006 Nikki and Marilyn co-founded Deaffest, the UK’s leading Deaf-led Film & Arts Festival which is now recognised globally and celebrates the talents of deaf filmmakers and artists from all over the world. Nikki has been nominated for many UK and international films, directing and business awards and she also employs a number of University of Wolverhampton graduates within Zebra-Uno.

Watch the Awards Ceremony