Newsletter – April 2021

Introduction from the Chairman Mick Burrows

Dear alumni and friends,

I hope you and yours are all well, once again my thoughts to any alumni who have been directly affected by the Covid pandemic. Hopefully 2021 and beyond will prove to be a more fruitful and productive time as we look to how we might restart, further develop and support our scholarship.

As international travel will remain restricted for the immediate future we are considering how virtual connections may be
initiated in advance of a full scholarship taking place. We hope to restart our full scholarships as soon as travel to the US can commence again. We will keep you updated as our ideas progress.

You may recall that we planned to initiate a strategic review last June to ensure the scholarship was better aligned for the future. Our intended focus was the interface with local businesses, how we better engage alumni, market, fundraise and address the impact of Covid.

Recognising face to face contact was a long way away, between November and January we ran a series of virtual workshops with a number of trustees and colleagues from our management team, the review was very ably and kindly facilitated by Richard Donovan, Global Head of Social Innovation & UK&I Head of Corporate Responsibility at Experian.

Following a number of very dynamic and challenging virtual workshops and much work by colleagues, we have now developed a plan of activities which focuses on the following themes: developing our profile; engaging our alumni; building inclusivity; opportunities for transatlantic innovations; and ensuring a sustainable financial future. We will provide more detail on each theme as we finalise the action plans accompanying each theme.

One of the most positive outcomes for me was the engagement, commitment, enthusiasm and challenge that Richard gave to the scholarship and his personal dedication to us. I am delighted to confirm that Richard has agreed to become a Trustee; this was approved at last week’s AGM along with approval for Councillor Merlita Bryan to stay with us for a further three years, which is great.

As ever my appreciation goes to all the Trustees and management team colleagues who, despite the challenge of time and work pressures, continue to generously support the scholarship.

Finally, my sincere thanks to those alumni who have so generously provided a financial contribution to ensure the scholarship continues into the future.

Best wishes, Mick



Elisia Denton, 2015 Scholar and NRMTS Events Co-ordinator

The Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship held its first virtual Thanksgiving event back in November and it was a great success. For over an hour nearly 100 people from all over the UK, plus guests from the US, France and Norway, joined with leading Nottinghamshire figures to hear alumni speak.

Highlights of the event were talks from previous scholars Nick Beighton, CEO of ASOS, and Chris Aylett, Chief Executive of the Motorsport Industry Association, who spoke about their scholarship experiences, what they had learnt from their trips and how it impacted their careers. For those of you who didn’t have the opportunity to watch live, please do contact us at if you would like the link to the recording.

This event was our second Thanksgiving event and I can assure you there will be many more to come. We have learnt over the past 12 months that virtual events provide an opportunity for our friends from farther afield to stay engaged with what we are doing and we have enjoyed welcoming them back. It would be great to understand what supporters of the scholarship would like to see more of so please do get in touch with any feedback.


Our 2019 scholars, Henry (who has recently joined a local innovative battery storage startup, Cheesecake Energy) and Sam (who is now a civil servant working on UK net zero public engagement), have set up a sustainability subgroup to bring together Roosevelt alumni with an interest in the topic.

The idea came about after Herbert, a 1972 scholar who is aiming to make his village net zero, got in touch with Sam following our stunning Thanksgiving event in November. After a fantastic kick-off meeting with around a dozen interested alumni, the subgroup decided to run quarterly talks open to the public with different sustainability themes (ideas included climate and space, climate and heritage etc). The USP is that each talk will have both a UK and a US speaker.

It was agreed that the first event should be an introduction to sustainability to make the topic and group accessible to all, and also to celebrate the momentous time in history for climate on various levels, with Nottingham’s leading 2028 goal, the UK set to host the UN’s COP 26 Climate Change Conference and the US’ $2 trillion climate plan.

The event will be held on Zoom and has been scheduled for Wednesday 21st April at 7pm. We’re very excited to announce that Lilian Greenwood, MP for South Nottingham, will be our UK speaker, whilst insights on the Biden Administration’s climate plans will be provided by an American speaker (TBC).

All alumni and members of the public are very welcome to attend. To register for the event please use the following link:


Richard Donovan, Global Head of Social Innovation & UK&I Head of Corporate Responsibility at Experian

Between November and January we ran a series of workshops with our trustees and management team, facilitated by Richard Donovan from Experian. The overriding objective was to engage the Scholarship’s leaders by collaborating on the future vision and strategy.

Over the course of three sessions we considered the opportunities and risks facing us, developed vision, values and priorities for the future, and built momentum through a plan of activities, which were focused on the themes of:

  • Developing our profile
  • Engaging our alumni
  • Building inclusivity
  • Opportunities for transatlantic innovations; and
  • Ensuring a sustainable financial futureEngaging the trustees and management team in this way led to really creative thinking and no smalldegree of commitment and we’d like to thank all involved for giving up their evenings for the workshops and working so hard in between to help in the development of the plan.Below, a few of our working group members provide an overview of current efforts and planned next steps for advancing the scholarship through their theme.Mick Burrows – “Engaging Alumni” Theme Lead“Our objective is to improve our connectivity with past scholars with the overall aim of securing greater interest and ongoing relationships.As part of our thinking we want to explore how many past scholars would be willing to share their skills and experiences with a view to securing their assistance on an ad hoc, and where relevant, ongoing basis regarding specific scholarship initiatives and priorities.We are keen that the scholarship remains useful and relevant to alumni long after they returning from the US, and are therefore looking to engage with the NRMTS community in a way that is mutually beneficial to both scholarship and scholars.”Russ Blenkinsop – “Sustainable Financial Future” Theme Lead“As we look to secure a sustainable financial future for the scholarship, we face the joint challenges of improving accessibility by increasing the grant amount for each scholar, alongside seeking a greater impact by sending more scholars each year. All this is against a backdrop of a tough financial climate and withdrawal of financial support from the County and City Councils. Nevertheless, in trying to meet these challenges, we passionately believe that the scholarship provides a unique and life-changing opportunity both for individuals and the county.

    We are looking to establish a sustainable plan to make NRMTS the premier, inclusive scholarship in Nottinghamshire. This means investigating many forms of income, including grants, themed scholarships, and working with partners and those who benefit from the scholarship. In broad terms we are looking to send five scholars per year, to increase the grant amount to £5,000 per scholar and to provide support on the scholar’s return. This means raising over £150,000 to cover each five year period.”



There must be something in the water at NRMTS, because most of our management team have seen exciting developments in their professional lives in the past few months. Below, Tom, Elisia, Sheridan and Sam write about how the scholarship has helped them to reach new heights in their careers…

Tom Cable, 2020 Mayflower Scholar

It’s been a whole year since my scholarship to Massachusetts. Prior to my visit, I was mainly working in primary schools, bringing history to life as various characters from the national curriculum.

Since returning, my focus has mainly been on exploring and commemorating local heritage through digital technology. This has included supporting the Pilgrims Gallery in Retford by producing a video series about local churches linked to the Mayflower voyage.

The scholarship allowed me to get a foot in the door with many of these organisations and pushed me to become more confident in telling stories through digital technology – which is now a huge part of my life and professional career. It has given me opportunities to fly drones through castles and explore the potential of telling the stories of Robin Hood through augmented and virtual reality.

In March, a public exhibition launched in the grounds
of Newark Castle featuring a lot of digital content I have produced over the past few months, including an interview with our very own Russ and Liz Blenkinsop about their flood action group in Lowdham.

Elisia Denton, 2015 Scholar

 Speaking at Starting Bloc

The scholarship has created many opportunities for me, such as securing my first job in tech as a business analyst.

The story of how I got it was very serendipitous. I had applied for a PA job with a director at a corporate tech company but after spending a large amount of time in my interview drawing on experiences I had had during my scholarship, he put me forward for what he felt was a better suited opportunity.

Fast forward three and a half years, and the experiences of the scholarship still provide great opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and competencies during interviews and was definitely something I drew upon to secure my latest role, as a Digital Product Manager, which I started in January.

In a crowded job market where lots of people have high calibre skills, this scholarship can be a distinguishing factor between you and the people you are competing against. I am forever grateful for the doors this scholarship has opened for me and it is part of the reason I am committed to being an active part of the management team.

Sheridan Chilvers (2011 Scholar)

Sheridan Chilvers

I started a new job in January as Account Manager at the Nottingham City Growth Hub.

The Growth Hub aims to be a one-stop-shop for business support across the D2N2 LEP area. My role involves working with local businesses to understand their needs and challenges, and then connect them to appropriate support programmes.

My connections through the scholarship are already proving fruitful in this new role, as I am now supporting both 2019 scholar Henry Franklin’s employer, Cheesecake Energy, and Tech Silver, established by 2017 scholar Miles Waghorn.

Sam Lux, 2019 Scholar

In January, I started working for the Civil Service as a policy advisor in the relatively new Net Zero Public Engagement team.

I am working on a national small business mass mobilisation campaign which aims to support businesses to commit to Net Zero by 2050 ahead of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), which will be hosted by Glasgow in November. As part of my role, I am setting up a UK- US transatlantic working group, building on the raft of contacts I established during my Roosevelt scholarship in 2019.

Excitingly, I was recently featured in a profile piece published by edie as part of their 30 under 30 Sustainability Leaders series. I used the opportunity to highlight the scholarship as a pivotal moment in my career history to date. You can read the article here:



As every NRMTS scholar knows, upon your return you face a barrage of questions from friends and family eager to hear every detail of your trip. But after such an adventure, it takes some time to realise the real value and key takeaways of the scholarship experience. Below, 2012 scholar Sarah Edwards reflects on her time in the US and what it has meant for her since…

Q: What was your project?

A: At the time of my trip I worked for the Driving Standards Agency (DSA, now known as Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency-DVSA), so my project was to explore the approach to driver training throughout 13 states. What I found most interesting was the variances between the different states, in particular the rules around graduated licensing. This was something being considered by DSA at the time so I found talking to various driver training organisations throughout the states I visited fascinating and useful.

Q: What was the biggest lesson you learnt?

A: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself-before, during and after the trip. It’s such a huge opportunity and you’re determined to make the most of it, but it’s important to give yourself a break and take time to enjoy your surroundings. If I could do it again I would probably cut down the number of places I visited and spend a bit more time in each one. Travel light! I wouldn’t take half the luggage I did if I were to do my trip again!!

Q: How has the scholarship helped you progress and develop in the years since your trip?

A: I think it took me a few years to fully realise how this helped develop my confidence-it occurred to me what a huge thing I’d achieved and how far I’d come, both personally and professionally about 5 years after! I’ve moved up two grades in my job and completed a professional qualification, both of which I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have had the confidence or even motivation to do before the scholarship.

Q: What would you do differently if you could do the scholarship again?

A: Travel light!! Take more time to adjust when I got back-it’s a long time to be away from home and work and I think it’s important to take time to stop and reflect before you fully immerse yourself back in to everyday life when you get home.

Share your scholarship stories with us!

We’re always eager to hear from fellow alumni about their own American adventures on the Roosevelt Scholarship. Please do get in touch, via email ( or phone (07767-797-335) with remembrances from your trip. We’d love to know about your highs, lows and “pinch me, I’m dreaming” moments!



As we noted above, the NRMTS management team and trustees are currently working to update and restructure the scholarship to keep it relevant and to ensure its ongoing financial viability.

As part of this effort, we’re investigating the idea of aligning the scholarship along a number of themes. We hope this will allow potential partners in industry to recognise how the scholarship might be relevant to them, as well as providing clear avenues for alumni to re-engage with the scholarship according to their interests.

At this stage, we would really appreciate your input regarding whether/how a themed approach might encourage you to actively engage with the scholarship as a valued alumnus. We would therefore be very grateful if you could take five minutes to fill out a brief online questionnaire, which will assist us as we continue to explore what the future of the scholarship might look like.

The questionnaire can be accessed here: Many thanks in advance for your help!



The scholarship is run completely by a voluntary committee and is funded by the donations of alumni, friends and supportive organisations.
One of our remarkable scholars who has recently chosen to give back to the scholarship is Miles Waghorn, CEO of TechSilver, an organisation founded by Miles and supercharged by connections and learning that he made on his 2017 Roosevelt Scholarship. TechSilver is a business providing technology to help older people live independently and we’re so proud to see Miles’s business going from strength-to-strength.

Miles announced that he would donate £2,000 to the scholarship at our virtual Thanksgiving event in December. Along with match-funding, this generous gift will support two new scholars to journey across the United States and grow personally and professionally. Huge thanks to Miles and everyone else who has contributed in the last year.

If you would like to support new scholars and the scholarship then please consider giving your time, sharing your skills or making a financial contribution. To talk about this please get in touch with Russ on 07767-797-335.
This unique opportunity relies on the generosity of other so please do consider helping in any ways you are able. Donations can be giving using the form below or on the scholarship website,

Thank you.

A NEW DONATE Paypal button is now available on the website. The button is a HASSLE-FREE option that will enable you to make a one-off payment or a regular donation without having to cut, complete and send a form.

There’s no reason not to donate now ?


Donate to the Scholarship 

Donation and Gift Aid Form

Name and address of your bank (including postcode)



Instructions to your bank:  Please make payments and debit my/our account number:

…………………………………………………, Sort Code: ………………………………………. to the account of Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship (Account 96876077, Nat West Bank, Nottingham City Branch, Unit 27, Victoria Centre, Nottingham NG1 3QD, Sort code 60-80-09) with the sum of: £10, £25, £50 Other £ ……. per month until further notice, starting on …………………………… or as soon thereafter. Please quote reference …………………………………………….(to be inserted by NRMTS),

In order to Gift Aid your donation please tick the box below.

 I want to Gift Aid my donation and any donations I make in the future or have made in the past 4 years to Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship (Charity number 512941). I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year it is my responsibility to pay any difference.

Signature(s): ……………………………………………………….. Date: …………………………… (today’s date)


Your name (capitals please) (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms): ………………………………………………………….

Address (capitals please): ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


…………………………………………………………………….. Postcode: …………………………………………

Please return this form to NRMTS at the following address:

Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship

c/o Treasurer – Russ Blenkinsop, Willow Cottage, 8 The Corner, Lowdham, Notts NG14 7AE



September 2020 Newsletter

Introduction from the Chairman Mick Burrows

Dear colleague, it seems a long time since I wrote the introduction to our last newsletter in February, I don’t think any of us had imagined the impact and devastation that Covid-19 presented to everyone. I personally and fortunately don’t know anyone who has yet had the virus, I am sure however that somewhere within our Roosevelt alumni one of you will either be directly affected or know someone who is, my thoughts and condolences to those of you who have either lost dear ones or been affected by the virus.

How the world has changed, clearly this particularly affects a travelling scholarship. However along with my fellow Trustees we remain both committed and optimistic about future opportunities once the world recovers.    

The good news as you saw in February’s newsletter, both Sam and Henry managed to undertake their scholarship very successfully and with great effect and impact.

Meantime our County Council sponsored Mayflower scholar Tom, just managed to return to the UK as Covid 19 started to impact. Tom’s experience and the results of his journey and experience are very enlightening, I am particularly looking forward to hearing at first hand from Tom once Trustees can meet again face to face. You can see Tom’s initial ‘table-top’ video about the Mayflower on our Facebook and website.

As you may recall, to help further develop, profile and celebrate our scholarship, we had planned for a very exciting and full programme of events, celebrations and strategic visioning exercises across the summer period. These included a wide range of shared activities including our very first Showcase event scheduled for June and our annual celebration event scheduled for July. Most importantly, we had arranged to participate in a Visioning for the Future and Strategic Planning event which was kindly to be facilitated by one of our great supporters, Richard Donovan  who is Global Head of Social Innovation & UK&I Head of Corporate Responsibility at Experian, this was also scheduled for June.

Obviously, we have had to put everything on hold until we are able to gather again and meet face to face. 

With regard to this year’s recruitment process which had already commenced with a very good field of potential applicants (my thanks to everyone who assisted in publicising etc)  we are now proposing to postpone the scholarship until 2021, existing applicants will have first call on the places available. We hope that by early 2021 international travelling and social interaction will be improved with opportunities that are currently restricted.  

Our Trustees all serve the scholarship on a voluntary basis with great commitment and enthusiasm. Our thanks go to Councillor Kevin Rostance with a warm welcome to Councillor Stuart Wallace as he takes over as Chairman of the County Council. Also thanks to the Lord Mayor Councillor Rosemary Healy. I wanted to particularly thank Councillor Yvonne Woodhead, who following her year as Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council has remained a very loyal and valued Trustee. Yvonne provided generous and welcome support, but is now standing down as we aim to provide an opportunity for a ’new’ (and young) scholar to serve as a Trustee.

Speaking of goodwill, I wanted to particularly thanks Russ and management team colleagues for their continued support, enthusiasm and commitment, they continuously generate new ideas and thoughts for which we as Trustees are very grateful and appreciative.




Sam Preston – Sustainable US Cities

A few more months removed from her enlightening time exploring sustainable cities in the US, 2019 scholar Sam provides an update…

Opportunities were plentiful in the first few months after returning from the US in December, even in the midst of a pandemic. Perhaps top of the list is joining a 30 under 30 network for “the next generation of sustainability leaders” run by, a news outlet for environmental professionals. The initiative offers a profile piece, workshops, networking sessions, access to leaders club events, mentorship and a year of free membership to the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. Being in amongst successful young employees representing high profile companies offers unparalleled chances to access private sector insights into sustainability. My application’s success most probably rested on my unique US experience, so I already have a lot to thank the Roosevelt Scholarship for on top of the wonderful trip itself.

Prior to the COVID crisis, speaking invitations were materialising thick and fast and I did manage to present some project findings to a diverse mixture of local groups. Audiences included the Nottingham Green Partnership (part of One Nottingham), primary children at the Real Science in Schools Symposium, listeners of Nottingham Good Food Partnership’s local heroes podcast and De Montfort University’s Leading Change for Sustainability master’s students to whom I delivered a guest lecture on innovative behaviour change programmes. Inspired by the faith group alliances I met in the US, I also visited St Mary’s Church in the Lace Market to talk with their congregation about our Carbon Neutral strategy and the idea of setting up a network; an idea I’ve been discussing with a passionate University of Nottingham geography professor whose research addresses a similar space.

Another small but potentially exciting development has been connecting our Nottingham Green Partnership chairperson, Richard Barlow, with a prominent law professor who I interviewed at Columbia University in New York City. The latter co-edited a book called Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonisation in the US and had asked me to look out for ways of expanding his work into the UK. While I know little to nothing about law, I was really pleased to be able to introduce him to Richard, a passionate environmental lawyer who has only been too happy to run with the idea. Stay tuned for updates!

Unsurprisingly, a lot of plans have been put on hold during the pandemic. In the last newsletter I mentioned that I had contributed to an NTU paper with US case studies I had collected during my scholarship. Entitled “Digitally Engaged? Reflections and recommendations for engaging citizens in smart cities”, it has now been accepted but its conference presentation and publication in the Earth and Environmental Science Journal have been indefinitely delayed. So too have other speaking engagements, including a couple at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham City Business Club.

On the bright side, lockdown for me has allowed more time to focus on my scholarship report, as much of my project work, which largely revolves around face-to-face engagement, has come to a halt. With notes to organise from over 160 events and interviews across 11 US cities, the write-up is no mean feat, but in the process I am rediscovering all of the inspiration and wisdom I came across on my three month adventure. Without a doubt this is translating to my City Council work. Recently, for example, I presented new ideas for virtual engagement to our departmental manager’s meeting, attended a Citizens Assembly meeting and sat on a NottStopping sustainability talk panel, and kept finding myself starting sentences with “In America I saw/found that…” throughout them all.

Finally, a more unusual outcome which is also very much linked to the scholarship is my Californian Coronavirus love story! Back in November on my trip, I met my now-boyfriend, Colin, at UCLA’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability, and was supposed to go out and visit him in April. On the day the President announced incoming UK flights were to be banned, Colin bought the next one-way ticket to London and has been living with me ever since. Admittedly a huge risk, but one which is paying off so far. It just goes to show the unexpected magic that can ensue from a Nottingham Roosevelt scholarship.

You can follow Sam on her Twitter at

Henry Franklin – Offsite Construction: What can the UK learn?


Having settled back into UK life, 2019 scholar Henry updates us on his life post-scholarship…

I returned from my NRMTS experience in December 2019 and have had a hectic time since! In the three months up until lockdown was announced I found time to change jobs and move to a new house.

Before leaving the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in March I put my experiences investigating offsite construction in the US to good work, launching the UK’s largest ever government-backed R&D programme in the construction sector. I wrote the initial proposal for the Construction Innovation Hub’s Platform Design Programme and worked with my team at the MTC for nine months in order to prepare for its launch. The programme aims to bring together companies from across the construction sector to collaboratively develop a platform building solution that can be used by government to construct the next generation of social infrastructure; schools, hospitals, social housing etc. The programme is intended to counter concerns around low levels of productivity, poor quality and an increasing skills shortage in the construction sector. Over the course of the following 18 months businesses enrolled on the programme will design a kit of parts from which multiple building types can be delivered and construct a proof of concept building to showcase the technologies developed.

In March I left the MTC to join Cheesecake Energy Ltd, a start-up company that has spun out of a Nottingham University research project. I am part of a small technical team generating the detail design of a prototype energy storage system that we will build and operate by Q2 2021. It’s an entirely new challenge and one that I am enjoying a lot, reaching out to my network to find the components,  services and skills that Cheesecake Energy needs to complete the development of our system – a skill I was able to hone whilst preparing for my scholarship. 

If you have a background in engineering research and development projects or energy storage and believe you may be able to provide help or advice, it would be great to hear from you. My email is



Despite some major disruption caused by the pandemic, Mayflower Scholar Tom explains how he managed to make the most of his Roosevelt experience…

I was sat in Heathrow airport on the 1st March, really excited about visiting America for the first time. It was also the first time I would be travelling abroad with some kind of purpose. It was before COVID-19 really made any headlines in the UK (if you can remember that time) but roughly a quarter of the people in the airport were wearing face masks. At the time, I very naively thought it was a bit of an overreaction. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was obviously proven to be hideously wrong. I was in Boston, MA visiting some truly breathtaking museums and art galleries. I learnt about the Salem witch trials, the American civil war and stood outside for hours in the freezing cold amongst thousands of people to witness a re-enactment of the Boston Massacre.

Everything was going really well and I was learning a lot. You know what happens next. Each museum and gallery I visited seemed to close almost exactly twenty four hours after I visited them. I considered myself to be incredibly lucky to have visited these places in the nick of time and to have been one of the last visitors at each of these places, but I knew that my luck would run out at some point.

I run my own business, promoting and developing interactive living history projects in Nottinghamshire primary schools. My idea was to use these techniques to develop a character role-play to educate the people of Nottinghamshire about the Mayflower story and the county’s role in its success. There was a whole mock village in Plymouth, MA designed to look and feel like a seventeenth century village a few years after the Mayflower had landed. There were around thirty performer-interpreters who had all done a lot of research into these real, British figures from this story – including the Brewster family who lived in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire. Needless to say, this was the centre of my research project and held some incredible value and great insight. I got on the train from Boston to Plymouth and met with a family who I had arranged to stay with for a few days. Communication was very limited and all I knew was that I would be staying in a ‘cold basement’. Tempting, I know. Combined with the ever-slimming chances of getting to visit Plimoth Plantation, I was starting to worry. I checked Twitter and watched the news at regular intervals to see if I could forecast what was going to happen.

Thankfully, Amber, who is the ‘mom’ of the house was incredibly generous and helpful. Her very American sense of adventure took us to the Plantation the day before it was open to the public. We let ourselves around the thatched buildings and spoke to some of the interpreters who were very keen to practice their accents on an English person. The following day was the first day of the season that they were open to the public and I arrived there as it opened at 9am and stayed until 4:30pm asking questions and just generally being nosy. The characters would wave and call me by name by the time I had done my sixth or seventh lap of the village.

The next day, it was announced that Plimoth Plantation had decided to close. It has been open for one day so far this year and I was there to see all of it and speak to everybody.

This was the day that I was supposed to be going onwards to New York, but uncertainty about how and when I would be returning back to the UK made me wary of travelling any further. Thankfully, Amber’s house was very nice and the basement wasn’t as cold as I had expected. She invited me to stay as long as I wanted and made me feel like part of the family. The dad of the family, Jesse, is a nurse in the emergency room of the local hospital and we’d often stay up after he had worked twelve-hour shifts at the hospital and we’d drink beer from the Mayflower brewery (strictly for research purposes, obviously) and watch infection-disaster movies whilst he explained how accurate they were (the Matt Damon movie Contagion is apparently scarily similar to COVID-19).

Jesse and Amber have two children. Whilst Jesse was working in the hospital and Amber was studying, I would go out on walks with the kids or spend a few hours telling them stories about Robin Hood and other random bits of English history I could remember.

Amber also amazingly put me in contact with Ben Brewster (ninth descendent of Mayflower Pilgrim William Brewster) and James Baker, who helped implement the historical re-enactments at Plimoth Plantation nearly forty years ago. The opportunity to interview them both was wholly unexpected and gave great insight into the story itself and how and why it should be told.

I very nearly didn’t get on the train from Boston to Plymouth because I was scared of being stuck in a cold basement with some strangers. In the end, getting on that train was the best decision I have ever made.

I returned to the UK just a week earlier than planned. I don’t feel like I have missed out on anything because the experiences I gained from being in these strange circumstances went so far above what I expected to achieve and learn.

The knowledge I gained during the trip have been used since I returned to help further my own business and also help turn my telling of the Mayflower story into something unique that I hope Nottinghamshire can be proud of.

Amber, Jesse and I still remain in regular contact and I sometimes send educational videos about English history for their two children. I am also delighted to say that they have a new favourite phrase: Ey up me duck!




Like many people in recent months, the scholarship management committee have had to find ways to keep busy during lockdown. Here are a few insights from the team about how they’ve been passing the time…

Russ Blenkinsop (1983 Scholar)

During the lockdown, my wife Liz and I have set up Lowdham Volunteers to provide shopping, meals and pharmacy deliveries to people in the Lowdham area. This has helped build a more vibrant community which celebrated VE Day in style and is now establishing a strong group to make Lowdham more resilient to flooding.

Sarah Edwards (2012 Scholar)

For a while I was looking after Alfie, a friend’s dog, since she went on holiday before the lockdown and hasn’t been able to get over to collect him. He kept me going by keeping me company and making sure I got out for my daily exercise with him!

Sheridan Chilvers (2011 Scholar)

I have spent some of lockdown putting my printer to good use by producing 3D printed PPE for frontline staff. I run Creative-Dimensions, an educational business that promotes digital skills for young people. Whilst schools were in lockdown, I produced over 100 ear protectors for healthcare workers, ambulance teams and the police.

Rachel Armitage (2016 Scholar)

I decided that lockdown would be the perfect time to try and learn a new skill. So, when I tired of quizzes, puzzle books and jigsaws, I bought a beginners knitting set from Etsy. After much unravelling and starting again, I finally managed to produce something vaguely resembling a scarf. What’s more, it was such a hit with my friends that I’ve been “commissioned” to whip up a few more – not a bad achievement from my sofa!

Management Team

In addition to their new lockdown activities, the management committee have kept up their monthly meetings, switching to Zoom to ensure everybody stays safe and healthy. It’s been a challenging period, especially with the decision to postpone recruitment for the scholarship, but the team remain optimistic for the future and committed to helping steer the scholarship through this latest of storms.


We were thrilled when 1961 Roosevelt Scholar, Penny Wesson, kindly recounted some memories of her scholarship experience with us. Here, Penny writes about meeting Mrs Roosevelt and hobnobbing with movers and shakers in the 60s performing arts scene…

I was one of the three lucky Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship winners in 1961, the other two being John Butt, who worked for Boots, and Peter Lamin, a farmer. I was on the administrative team at the Nottingham Playhouse.

John and I travelled together at the beginning of August on HMS Queen Elizabeth, a five day journey that in every way was astonishing to me – the first time anyone in my family had been abroad, let alone on an iconic liner across an ocean for a five month adventure.

We had each made our own itinerary for our travels throughout the States, but first we had a few days in New York and an invitation to stay with Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt at her home, Val-Kill, on the Hyde Park Estate, upstate New York. The weekend was delightful and very relaxed, with a kindness and hospitality from our hostess that was replicated in so many of my encounters to follow.

Mrs Roosevelt provided introductions to various friends and relatives around America and as so often happens, one contact leads to another. One happy connection was with Mayris Martin, an old friend of hers, who lived in Los Angeles (and was married to Hershey Martin, an agent with the William Morris Agency – about which I knew nothing at the time but coincidentally went on to work for in London in 1965, for nearly twenty years).

Mayris in turn gave me an introduction to her old dancing partner, Eddie Fox, who was the Manager and often Producer of the shows at the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall in Las Vegas, which became a new stop for the itinerary.

I arrived at the bus station in Las Vegas and made straight for a public telephone to book a room at the YWCA – but there wasn’t one, so I scoured the yellow pages to find somewhere I could afford.  Once I’d made a reservation I hauled myself and two large and heavy bags (no wheels in those days) into a taxi, asking the driver to take me to the Carver House Hotel. After a while the driver asked me if I knew I was heading to “the only all-black hotel in town”? (Formal segregation had been lifted by this time, but social expectations persisted about which I was evidently naïve.) He suggested I might feel more comfortable elsewhere and would I like him to suggest another hotel and if so what could I afford? I quoted what I usually paid at a Y, which raised an eyebrow, but pulling up outside the nice-looking Moulin Rouge Hotel he went in for a few minutes and came out to say I now had a room for my price. Being young, on my own, and having an English accent which was still something of a rarity then, all no doubt helped, but it was that warm helpfulness and generosity I was experiencing again.

The Silver Slipper is no more, sadly. It was right in the middle of The Strip, not a large building nor anything like as glamorous as the glittering palaces all around, but it had a splendid silver slipper picked out in lights on the roof and a warm welcome inside. Eddie Fox could not have been more hospitable. After coffee and a shower of Silver Slipper mementoes including key ring dice, packs of miniature playing cards and packets of matches all decorated with the Silver Slipper logo, I kept him company while we walked to his nearby apartment to collect something. The furnishing was sparse – your hours are long if you work in a casino – but I never saw more piles of books leaning in piles against the walls, with titles like “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie, who was widely read at the time.

Back at the Silver Slipper Eddie gave me lunch and then showed me into the theatre to watch the afternoon’s entertainment featuring a company of very pretty girls, singers and dancers, and some comedians led by Sparky Kaye who that afternoon was dressed as a nurse and called himself “Penny Wesson, from Nottingham, England.”

It was all wonderfully larky and daft and I loved it. Afterwards I went backstage to meet the company and thank Sparky, adding that if he should come to England to let me know and he might like to come up to Nottingham.

To my delighted surprise Sparky did just that. He visited London the following year when he made a 24 hour detour to Nottingham. I booked him a room at the very nice and central Black Boy Hotel (a name not even of its time then – it was changed a few years later). I let the Evening Standard know that Sparky Kaye, star of the Silver Slipper in Las Vegas, whom I’d met while I was on the Nottingham Roosevelt Travelling Scholarship, was coming to Nottingham later that week and I would be meeting him off the train at the Midland Station. The Standard sent a cheerfully creative photographer who asked me to sit on one of those very wide luggage trolleys waving my arms about and being pulled along by a rope hauled by Sparky, acting like a labouring porter. The photograph appeared in the paper that night. We got together a few hours later when my parents took us all out to dinner, Sparky, my twelve-year-old brother, Nigel, and me. I wish I could claim that the evening was a wild success but perhaps that was too much to expect at a first meeting between people who had such very different life experiences. We had a very good meal and got along well enough, which was grand. That Sparky should have made the trip up to Nottingham was wonderful – and here I am, nearly sixty years later, metaphorically raising a glass to Sparky, a very game guy, who gave me some wonderful memories, as did so many I met on my travels round America, thanks to Nottingham’s wonderful scholarship tribute to Franklin D Roosevelt.



Due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 we have had to suspend this year’s recruitment and events programme. This included our new Stakeholder event, which would have provided an opportunity to engage with local businesses, as well as our traditional summer Celebration event.

Not to be completely defeated by the pandemic, we are currently exploring the possibility of holding a virtual Thanksgiving event in November and will provide further details in due course.

  • Stakeholder Event – Postponed
  • Celebration Event – Postponed.
  • Thanksgiving Event – Nov 2020 – TBC


Over the May Bank Holiday weekend, three Scholars participated in the ‘Nottstopping’ Festival, which was created to raise money for the NHS. It was a fantastic online programme of events and activities from people from Nottinghamshire. The three Scholars who took part were:

  • Sam Preston (2019) who participated in a panel discussion on developing a sustainable city;
  • Debs Stevenson (2011) who shared a beautiful poem;
  • Simeon Hartwig (2009) who delivered a workshop on how to develop a t-shirt brand.

As ever, it was wonderful to see scholarship alumni sharing their expertise for the benefit of the local area, as well as, in this case, the NHS.


As part of our ongoing efforts both to promote the scholarship in perpetuity and to celebrate the experiences of scholars past, we are looking to add to our archive of stories and memorabilia from Roosevelt scholars across the years.

If you would like to share some memories of your time on the scholarship, or even perhaps some photographs, news clippings or diary entries, we would be delighted to hear from you.

You can reach out to us by email ( or by telephone (07767-797-335) to provide some anecdotes from your scholarship or to arrange a more in depth call with a member of our management committee.

Thank you so much in advance for helping us to plug the gaps in the scholarship’s history and ensuring that the incredible experiences from your scholarship aren’t lost to the past.



The scholarship is undergoing planning to make a number of changes in the coming months. If there are any alumni with specific skills that could help, then please get in touch with Russ on 07767-797-335. Specifically, we are looking for help with social media, marketing and legal issues.

The Scholarship is now funded largely by gifts made by our unique network of Alumni – from the returning scholars who donate each month through a standing order, to the couple who now give more than £2,000 a year. Please consider joining them if you can, both in memory and tribute of your own scholarship and of the many special people who made your journey something you will always treasure.  To become part of the Alumni network who now enable others in this way, please fill in the simple form below to set up a regular gift via standing order, (and also a gift aid declaration to enable the scholarship to reclaim tax on every penny that we can). Thank you.

A NEW DONATE Paypal button is now available on the website. The button is a HASSLE-FREE option that will enable you to make a one-off payment or a regular donation without having to cut, complete and send a form.

There’s no reason not to donate now ?


Donate to the Scholarship 

Donation and Gift Aid Form

Name and address of your bank (including postcode)



Instructions to your bank:  Please make payments and debit my/our account number:

…………………………………………………, Sort Code: ………………………………………. to the account of Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship (Account 96876077, Nat West Bank, Nottingham City Branch, Unit 27, Victoria Centre, Nottingham NG1 3QD, Sort code 60-80-09) with the sum of: £10, £25, £50 Other £ ……. per month until further notice, starting on …………………………… or as soon thereafter. Please quote reference …………………………………………….(to be inserted by NRMTS),

In order to Gift Aid your donation please tick the box below.

 I want to Gift Aid my donation and any donations I make in the future or have made in the past 4 years to Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship (Charity number 512941). I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year it is my responsibility to pay any difference.

Signature(s): ……………………………………………………….. Date: …………………………… (today’s date)


Your name (capitals please) (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms): ………………………………………………………….

Address (capitals please): ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


…………………………………………………………………….. Postcode: …………………………………………

Please return this form to NRMTS at the following address:

Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship

c/o Treasurer – Russ Blenkinsop, Willow Cottage, 8 The Corner, Lowdham, Notts NG14 7AE



Newsletter February 2020

Introduction from the Chairman Mick Burrows

Firstly, over the past few months, I have, along with many others have had the absolute privilege and delight to have witnessed at first hand all of our recent scholar’s adventures and experiences.  I can honestly say these sessions continue to be one of the most enlightening and insightful moments, the individual stories that wrap adventure, learning, life changing moments, with equal doses of challenge, excitement, sadness and fun, it all brings home to me the unquestionable value of our unique scholarship.

I along with many others have heard at first hand from; Rachel, Miles, Gareth, Angelena, Ben, Tori, Elisia and Sheridan, each scholar has presented their individual experience, the intricate details of their journey, the projects and places they visited, their up’s and down moments and the shared learning they and the places they visited benefited from. This they all shared with willingness, enthusiasm and ambition, yet again we witnessed the true added value we generate through the great work the scholarship brings.

Clearly this is not new, many of you as scholars from past years will no doubt have great and valued experiences to share. I know from the few scholars from the 60’s through to the 10’s that I have personally met that it was a truly life changing for everyone, all of which combine to bring great richness and benefit not only to each of them but importantly also to Nottinghamshire and the wider UK community.

More recently, Henry and Sam have recently returned from their respective journeys, we look forward to hearing their stories. I am also delighted that we have appointed Tom as our Mayflower scholar, thanks to the great support from Nottinghamshire County Council,  Tom will be exploring the links to this historic moment as we celebrate 400 years since that epic voyage took place, many of the Pilgrims originated from Nottinghamshire, hence the relevance and importance of this project. More details on the website.

The last year held many special moments for us including the Scholar feedback sessions, the Annual Celebration event in July, the 70th Anniversary event in November and many other individual occasions when individuals or small groups of scholars celebrated their findings and ambitions across the County. This year’s events are just being finalised and are in the Key Dates on Page 3, please let Russ know which ones you can attend. The Showcase event on 25th June promises to be a very special moment, it would be good to see you there as well as any other event you are able to make, you will be most welcome.

Along with my fellow Trustees, we are delighted to have recently had a very positive and enthusiastic meeting with Experian. We were warmly greeted by Richard Donovan and Laura Thomas. Richard is Head of Social Innovation and Corporate Responsibility, Laura is in his team. In discussion we acknowledged that the Scholarship needs to be better geared to today’s business world, particularly as local authority funding has dissipated. We recognised the requirement to set a new Strategic Vision; a key focus would be to identify priorities and potential opportunities that ‘fit with’ local business to develop a set of potential shared values and themes, financial equity and inclusion being an example.  We also know that we need to better understand more about what drives the 21 to 35 year target group and improve our marketing and publicity activities.

Richard and Laura have generously offered to support us, with direct input from Richard in facilitating a Visioning session. Support on analysis and marketing may also be forthcoming. We will be meeting with Richard in March and will keep you updated on the outcome. We are genuinely delighted to have his direct support and the valued contribution from Experian.

I look forward to seeing you soon. Best wishes Mick.


Key Dates

·       2020 Applications –1st January to Friday 6th March

·       AGM – Monday 4th May

·       Showcase Event – Thursday 25th June, County Hall

·       Celebration Event – Friday 3rd July, Knipton

·       Thanksgiving Event – tba



Sam Preston – Sustainable US Cities

Sam spent three months travelling around US, to research cities leading the way to become sustainable. This insight is crucial with Nottingham aiming to become the first carbon neutral city in the UK. This is what she had to say…

It’s hard to believe that three months in the US has now been and gone! As anticipated, it was the most extraordinary experience of my life, but of course the important new friendships and avenues of learning which opened up could not have been foreseen.

My research was collecting the sustainability stories of US cities. Working in sustainability engagement at Nottingham City Council which had just announced the most ambitious carbon neutrality goal in the country, it felt like the time to expand our horizons and seek fresh, innovative approaches for the journey ahead. America’s wealth of progressive municipalities and recent excitement around a Green New Deal, aptly inspired by FDR’s landmark New Deal Policy, rendered the Roosevelt travelling scholarship an ideal opportunity.

The work began in Washington DC where I interviewed the legislative staff of ten members of congress with strong environmental records and positions. In order to contextualise the research to come, my intention in the Capitol was to build an understanding of the national picture of green policy, given the fundamental contrasts between UK and US government structures. It turns out that DC itself is implementing cutting-edge work and fortunately I was able to fit in some discussions with local authority staff in various departments in between federal government appointments.

Just I’d hoped, gathering a range of interpretations of the Green New Deal and perspectives on the US’s future role in eco innovation set the scene magnificently for my subsequent work in the US. I went on to explore ten more major cities: Boston, New York, Detroit, Chicago, the Twin Cities, Seattle, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, LA and Honolulu. In each location I prioritised meetings with counterpart sustainability teams in their respective government offices, keen to find out about their set targets, challenges, technologies, partnerships and citizen engagement experiences in order to inform plans back in Nottingham. To develop a more well-rounded understanding of what was going on in each place, and of course to absorb more ideas and ways of thinking, I also spoke with universities, private sector organisations, non-profits and community groups working on sustainability initiatives.

With no exceptions, every place I went offered abundant inspiration, each excelling in their own way. Rather than finding difficulty in making enough appointments to fill my time as I had feared, the experts I contacted were generally so enthusiastic to meet me and make connections on my behalf that every working day (and the odd weekend!) was packed with interviews and tours. I found myself continually overwhelmed with how generous these professionals and community members were with their time and efforts in helping me.

Meanwhile, I was also shown unimaginable kindness from my Servas hosts, many of whom went the extra million miles to make my experience of their city as magical as possible. There are so many examples I could list but the first that come to mind are an eight hour round trip to the pacific coast and national parks in Washington, sailing down the Mississippi in Minneapolis and joining a Thanksgiving dinner of retired hippie actors in LA.

Now I’m back I seemed to have hit the ground running, having already contributed US case studies to an NTU paper on innovative digital engagement which is now out for review, and beginning work towards a few more academic collaborations. Invitations to speak and present are starting to pile up and of course I’m getting into writing the main Roosevelt report, looking forward to forming US-inspired recommendations for Nottingham as it continues to lead the country in green innovation!

You can follow Sam on her Twitter at

Henry Franklin – Offsite Construction: What can the UK learn?

Henry Franklin (Scholar #185), spent six weeks exploring modern methods of manufacturing in the construction industry to see what can be learnt and shared between our two countries…here’s what he had to say


In February of 2019, I received a message from my Mother-in-Law on LinkedIn that contained a link to the Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship website. I did a little research, discovered more about the impressive history of the scheme and found time that week to complete a project proposal and application form. Eight months later I found myself on a Harley Davidson riding through Death Valley, part of an 800 mile ride around the Sierra Nevada Mountains in order to reach the Autodesk Connect and Construct Summit being held in Las Vegas, one of the top conferences in the world on my field of interest and an event I had only received an invite to 3 days before from a contact I had been introduced to as a result of being awarded the NRMTS.


The project proposal that I had prepared was to investigate the deployment of offsite construction techniques, or prefabrication, in the United States. This was linked to my ongoing work at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry, where I am responsible for delivering the Construction Innovation Hub, a scheme designed to increase productivity and levels of Research & Development in the UK’s construction industry. The project consisted of 3 strands:

1) to visit US Construction Sites where offsite construction techniques were being used

2) to visit US Manufacturers/Developers in the offsite construction supply chain and

3) to visit R&D Centres developing new offsite construction methodologies and tools.


I prepared for the trip by reaching out to my network within the UK as well as contacting the British Consulate and British American Business Council. Using leads generated from these sources I was able to set appointments with Construction Managers, Factory Managers, Engineers and Researchers at the organisations which are summarised in the table below from which I was able to build up a picture of the offsite construction industry in the US.


Of equal importance to me as delivering my project was to travel extensively and experience life in the States. In six weeks, I passed through the States of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Texas, Massachusetts and New York visiting the cities of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Austin, Houston, Boston and New York. Between cities I experienced forest, mountains and desert travelling either by car or motorbike and staying with a mix of American hosts, Airbnbs and hostels.


I was also keen to learn more about the Scholarship itself. I met with Keith Taylor, scholar #041, in Boston and it was fantastic to hear more about his scholarship experiences over lunch.  The last stage of my trip saw me visit New York where I met with Sarah Schoonmaker, Great Grand Daughter of President Franklin D Roosevelt, shortly before taking a tour of the United Nations, an organisation that FDR was instrumental in establishing and that continues to do great work promoting international peace and security.


In the short time that I have known about the scholarship it has opened up some incredible opportunities for me, both professionally and personally which I am extremely grateful for.  It has been a privilege to be selected to receive the scholarship and I look forward to helping support it and to the future opportunities that I am sure will result from being associated to the scheme.




We are delighted to announce the successful appointment of Tom Cable as our Mayflower Scholar. The Mayflower project represents an exciting partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council as part of their Mayflower2020 campaign to commemorate the 400-year anniversary of when the Nottinghamshire Pilgrims set sail for the new World.

Although the Pilgrim story and the links to Thanksgiving and the American Constitution is heavily taught in US schools, little is made of the story in Nottinghamshire. We hope to help change this and to recognise the role Nottinghamshire people played in this key period in world history. Tom is local from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. He runs a successful educational business called Bluekazoo, which creates an immersive learning experience for schools across Nottinghamshire.

“I am ecstatic to be going to America to research the Mayflower and develop a new method to bring this unfamiliar story to life in classrooms across the county.”                      Tom Cable, Mayflower Scholar, 2020.

Tom has already made two short videos. The first describes his project and experience of winning the scholarship ( and the second his first week of preparation ( The Mayflower scholarship is the first of our themed scholarships in conduction with Nottinghamshire County Council.

To find out more about the Mayflower 400 Campaign across the UK, please go to:



70th Anniversary / Thanksgiving Meal, November, 2019.

Last year we celebrated the Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarships 70th year of sending adventurous young people from Nottinghamshire to the United States. Scholarship supporters, including alumni, donors, Trustees and partners attended a special Thanksgiving celebration on Tuesday, November 26th in Nottingham.

The 70th Anniversary event provided an opportunity to hear inspirational stories from past scholars on what they learned in the USA and their achievements since returning. Trustees of the Scholarship also shared current plans and aspirations for Scholarship. Mick Burrows, former Chief Exec of Notts County Council and chairman of the Scholarship, commented

” It’s a very special moment for our scholarship as we celebrate 70 years since the first scholars arrived in America. It’s unique, it’s life changing and it’s benefitted not just Nottinghamshire activities but has also impacted on a number of national developments through the ongoing work of past and present scholars. I am very proud, along with my fellow trustees in ensuring it continues to build long lasting relationships with the United States as we celebrate its success.”




We’re delighted to have had the support of Paul Harvey of who has helped us refresh our marketing material for 2020. We met Paul at the 70th Anniversary. One of the things that came out of discussions with various organisation in Notts was that they couldn’t easily explain to their group what the scholarship was about. So below are some words you can use when explaining to anyone you feel is interested. Remember our best recommendation is from YOUR personal contacts rather than a cold call.

Did you know there’s a scholarship to travel to America that’s only open to Nottinghamshire residents!

It’s called the Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship. It’s focused on young people (aged between 21 and 35) so if you are or you know anyone in this age range please read on.

The idea behind the scholarship is that the more people travel and meet other cultures the better we all become. It was set up in Nottingham to honour President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and so focuses on travel between Nottinghamshire and the USA. Many cities put up statues to the President for the role he played in helping end World War 2 but Nottingham chose to have a living memorial – the scholarship.

Applicants choose a subject that they are passionate about which will benefit from development by a visit to the US. This can be any subject. It is hoped that by developing the project they will bring back new insights from the States to benefit the scholar, their employer and the County.

You can choose the timing of your travel as long as it is completed by the end of 2020. The scholarship can be either 6 or 12 weeks. The scholarship is a return flight to New York City plus either £1500 (6-week trip) or £3000 (12-week trip).

Applications are via an on-line form from the website ( ). There is then a two stage interview process in Nottingham and then at County Hall West Bridgford. The deadline for applications is Friday 6 March.

Previous scholars have found this a life changing experience. You travel alone in the States meeting amazing people and becoming immersed in US life. Your network grows, you learn more about your topic and come back full of energy and enthusiasm. It builds your self-belief and confidence and looks great on your CV.

Further details are on website ( ) and there’s an enquiry form if you have any specific questions. We’re also on Twitter @NottsRoosevelt  and Facebook @NRMTS

Please pass on information about this unique opportunity to friends and family or apply yourself.



The scholarship is undergoing planning to make a number of changes in the coming months. If there are any alumni with specific skills that could help, then please get in touch with Russ on 07767-797-335. Specifically, we are looking for help with social media, marketing and legal issues.

The Scholarship is now funded largely by gifts made by our unique network of Alumni – from the returning scholars who donate each month through a standing order, to the couple who now give more than £2,000 a year. Please consider joining them if you can, both in memory and tribute of your own scholarship and of the many special people who made your journey something you will always treasure.  To become part of the Alumni network who now enable others in this way, please fill in the simple form below to set up a regular gift via standing order, (and also a gift aid declaration to enable the scholarship to reclaim tax on every penny that we can). Thank you.

A NEW DONATE Paypal button is now available on the website. The button is a HASSLE-FREE option that will enable you to make a one-off payment or a regular donation without having to cut, complete and send a form.

There’s no reason not to donate now ?


Donate to the Scholarship 

Donation and Gift Aid Form

Name and address of your bank (including postcode)



Instructions to your bank:  Please make payments and debit my/our account number:

…………………………………………………, Sort Code: ………………………………………. to the account of Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship (Account 96876077, Nat West Bank, Nottingham City Branch, Unit 27, Victoria Centre, Nottingham NG1 3QD, Sort code 60-80-09) with the sum of: £10, £25, £50 Other £ ……. per month until further notice, starting on …………………………… or as soon thereafter. Please quote reference …………………………………………….(to be inserted by NRMTS),

In order to Gift Aid your donation please tick the box below.

 I want to Gift Aid my donation and any donations I make in the future or have made in the past 4 years to Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship (Charity number 512941). I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year it is my responsibility to pay any difference.

Signature(s): ……………………………………………………….. Date: …………………………… (today’s date)


Your name (capitals please) (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms): ………………………………………………………….

Address (capitals please): ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


…………………………………………………………………….. Postcode: …………………………………………

Please return this form to NRMTS at the following address:

Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship

c/o Treasurer – Russ Blenkinsop, Willow Cottage, 8 The Corner, Lowdham, Notts NG14 7AE



Newsletter May 2019

Welcome from the Chairman Mick Burrows

In February along with my fellow trustees I was delighted to welcome President Franklin Roosevelt’s great granddaughter, Sarah Schoonmaker as our Roosevelt family host and contact. Sarah is based in New York and has confirmed that she is delighted and excited to continue the long-standing legacy of cooperation between Nottinghamshire and the Roosevelt family.

We also warmly welcomed the appointment of Susan Hallam as a new Trustee. Susan is the founder and CEO of one of Nottingham’s leading digital marketing agencies, and serves as the Chair of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter and as a Trustee of Nottingham Castle. Born in the USA, Susan has lived in the UK for 34 years and brings valued knowledge, experience and links to our scholarship.

Another fantastic highlight for me was having the opportunity to hear from four scholars, Gareth Morgan and Miles Waghorn who travelled in 2017, and Angelena Efstathiou and Ben Felstead who recently returned from their very individual and different journeys to the States. Clearly Miles and Gareth have had time to put their very different experiences and learning into great local practice. All four scholars presented their findings to us, their response provided a very informative, deep and meaningful insight into their experience, the opportunities they generated and the depth of learning and knowledge they acquired. Moreover, they all stimulated us with their confidence, enthusiasm and humour, they also shared a deep determination and commitment to take their knowledge forward to initiate change and improvements in their own arena.

Our recent decision, as Trustees to hear directly from scholars on their return is a good one! From a personal point of view, this really bought home to me the real reason I serve as a Trustee. The opportunity our scholarship provides to stimulate, shape and influence change. The opportunity to gain knowledge and share best practice, the undoubted benefit and value it gives and how it enables a life enhancing insight for our scholars. The reason we all work to build a sustainable future for the scholarship to flourish.

This year we are sending three scholars to the US. Nottinghamshire County Council are generously funding a ‘Mayflower scholar’ to link into the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers. We look forward to hearing more as the selection process for all three places continues.

On that note I would like to say a few personal thanks. Firstly, to our management team led by Russ Blenkinsop who act as the anchor for the scholarship. To Councillor Sue Saddington, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council and the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Liaqat Ali.  Sue and her team at the County Council deserve special thanks for going the extra mile in their commitment and support over the past twelve months. As ever my thanks to my fellow Trustees for giving their time and support so freely and willingly.

Finally, we need more support from you.  Former Scholars are the life blood that continues to ensure the scholarship lives on. Your thoughts, ideas and feedback are essential to us. Most importantly, we now have funding for only one more year after this years scholars have travelled. Many of you have strong contacts or links into financial sources beyond our reach. Your thoughts and assistance in securing funding will be most helpful at this time. Please let me know of any leads you may have.

Best wishes for the year ahead.  Mick Burrows




After another successful year of applications and interviews, we are delighted to announce the successful candidates for 2019 Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship. They include:

  • Henry Franklin, will be looking at modern methods of manufacturing in the construction industry to see what can be learnt and shared between our two countries,
  • Sam Preston, will be looking at US cities who are leading the way with becoming sustainable and help Nottingham become the first carbon neutral city in the UK.
  • Joe Dank, will be undertaking the Mayflower research project. The Mayflower project represents an exciting partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council as part of the Mayflower2020 campaign. Joe will be capturing the stories of Pilgrims, many of whom originated in Nottinghamshire.

Further details on the new scholars and their research projects will be in the next newsletter. Thanks to the 2nd interview panel of the Mayflower scholar were Sheridan Chilvers, Gabriel Strauss, Mandy Ramm (Notts CC) and Russ Blenkinsop and the panel for the main scholarship were Sheridan Chilvers, Susan Hallam, Cllr Sue Saddington, Cllr Yvonne Woodhead and Russ Blenkinsop. There were 5 candidates for the scholarships and the decisions were unanimous.

The scholars are putting together their usual 50-word statement, 1-page report, photo and video and these are available on the website under ‘Current Scholars’. The videos are on our YouTube channel. These materials will help us all advertise the scholarship – so if you prefer them in a different format or additional information then please let me know. An introductory 2 page leaflet on the scholarship is also available on the ‘About NRMTS’ page.




Roosevelt Connection.

The Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship is delighted to announce President Franklin Roosevelt’s great granddaughter, Sarah Schoonmaker, will continue the long-standing legacy of cooperation between Nottinghamshire and the Roosevelt family. Sarah Schoonmaker said, “I am delighted to be a part of continuing the strong relationship between Nottinghamshire, the Roosevelt family and the United States”.


2019 Celebration Event

The 2019 Celebration Event will be taking place on Friday 5th July at Manners Arms, Knipton. We will be hearing from Ben Felstead, YMCA and Tori Harrison, Framework.

The event will start at 7pm with drinks and canopies from 6.45pm.


Sheridan Chilvers – 2011 Scholar

In November 2017, I started working at Futures, an educational organisation in Nottingham that delivers a broad range of careers and employability services to young people and adults including apprenticeships, family learning and careers advice. My role was focused on connecting businesses to schools, to inspire young people to explore different career pathways and opportunities. I was also tasked with organising the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Digital Skills show, which aimed promote digital careers, these events attracted hundreds of students.

In November 2018, I was promoted to Programme Manager: Education and Digital, where I now organise school focused activities including work experience, enterprise and employability days and the traditional interview skill days. As part of this new role, I have now taken on line management responsibilities for the first time, which presents a new challenge for me, but I look forward to the opportunity do develop leadership skills.

At the same time as starting the new role I was awarded an amazing opportunity to participate in the Future Leaders Nottingham professional development programme. The programme aims to make leadership in Nottinghamshire more diverse and representative by creating a network of talented people who inspire others and drive change. As part of the programme I received masterclasses in communications, leadership, project management, resilience, emotional intelligence and action learning. Through the programme, I worked on a project to develop a YouNG Future Leaders programme for 17 and 18 year olds.

Since returning from my Scholarship in 2012, I have been looking for opportunities to implement the knowledge and insight I’ve gained on social entrepreneurship. I recently launched the Young Innovators Competition, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham. It aims to equip young people with the skills, knowledge and tools to overcome challenges they may face personally, professionally, or in society in general. The students will be asked to develop a campaign, product or service that addresses or raises awareness to Stress, Anxiety, or Depression. The winning team from the competition will receive funding to expand their idea across Nottingham. This is an exciting project which could have a long-term positive impact on Nottingham, the East Midlands and eventually the UK.



Tori Harrison: My pursuit of philanthropy across America

I’m writing this update with much pride and gratitude from a small village very close to Mystic, Connecticut. There’s a rich tapestry of goodwill knitted together that has enabled me to take my first steps, and indeed months, in the United States. Although three months of study and travel alone in a new country can be challenging, there has hardly been moments where a smile has left the corners of my mouth, especially when I remind myself how I came to be here.

This is a good opportunity to extend deep thanks to the scholarship donors unknown to me who made my Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarshippossible by giving. Thanks also to my long-suffering friends and family who donated towards my own fundraising target, as it’s my profession we know that it isn’t the first or last time that I’ll “shake a bucket” in your direction but I am, as ever, very thankful.

Gratitude is also due to those who gave time, encouragement and shared knowledge as well as monetary support including my scholarship mentor Rachel Armitage, scholarship Treasurer Russ Blenkinsop, Historian Yvonne Armitage and my employer Framework, especially my Fundraising Manager Chris Senior. Many of you have a belief in me that really helped me to maintain belief in myself. I could not have achieved this pursuit of knowledge without you.

I’ll be sure to write again but with less than two weeks until returning to the UK I’d like to share some highlights with you. I’ve travelled across in the North, East, South, West and the centre of this vast country, I have visited approximately fifty non-profit organisations, attended a world-leading charity conference and met inspiring people who devote their entire being to making the world a better place. I had the honour of connecting personally with the Roosevelt family and meeting Sarah Schoonmaker, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s great-granddaughter. I have heard incredible music in churches, jazz-dens and on the streets. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers (especially those who have welcomed me into their homes) and the beauty of this sprawling land and I’ve vowed never, ever again to spend more than 60 hours continuously on a train.

Both professionally and outside of employment I’ve found there is a seemingly impenetrable spirit of so many American people that encourages them to tackle any obstacle. It is this feeling and willingness to share that has opened my eyes to the wonders of Yosemite National Park, the swamp-life and carnivals of Louisiana and provided exceptional knowledge that will improve the routes to my own philanthropic goals.

I have built a network of fundraising professionals along my way that I know I can now turn to for support, best-practice and sharing. The discussions I have lead and contributed to have given birth to new ideas and the space and time to think in new settings has been invaluable. I feel a new drive for fresh possibilities has been ignited in my mind and I look forward to beginning a new chapter of my career using my learnings to benefit my own work-ethic, my employer and all those we exist to support in Nottinghamshire and beyond.

I will return to the UK at the beginning of May, before then I’m going to squeeze in as much learning and experiences as physically possible.

You can email Tori with questions or comments at

You can see more images from the locations of Tori’s adventures on Instagram @the_auditorium or

Tori will be speaking at the Nottingham Digital Summit on July, 3rd:



The Scholarship goes on providing opportunities for local young people to make their own journey to transform their career, aspirations and self-confidence – on an unbroken path now trodden by over 150 scholars over 68 years.  In each newsletter we will bring you a story, pictures or memories from passed scholars.


A TRIBUTE TO JEAN COOPER ROBINSON who sadly passed on 9 January 2019 from her step daughter Valerie Pedlar and 1963 scholar Pamela Jarvis Burgass, reprinted with permission from Valerie Pedlar

I met Jean in 1953 when we were both awarded a Roosevelt Scholarship organised by the City of Nottingham. From that day we formed a friendship which lasted from then …until now. Our career paths were very different but that proved to be no hindrance to the closeness of our friendship. In fact her parents regarded our closeness as that of sisters. Jean devoted her chosen career to being a Speech Therapist. Such was her expertise and innovation in that field that her influence is felt and is applicable today. Her O.B.E was well deserved. Jean will be missed by one and all. I know she had a wonderful Christmas and New Year just before she left us. She has left behind many happy memories that we can recollect and that she would wish us all to do.

After the excitements of the Roosevelt scholarship, she worked in Nottinghamshire, in London and in Canada, where she taught post-graduate students at the University of Toronto. An article in the Nottinghamshire Guardian of 1965 relating to her appointment gives a snapshot of this bright young woman: after praising her progress in her career the writer says: ‘ But she is no “bluestocking”…She dances, sails, skis, and whoever heard of a speech therapist who went salmon fishing!’ Jean’s father was a keen fisherman taught her. A year later she was invited back to England to be Director of Studies at one of the speech therapy training schools in London, and then Principal of the National Hospital’s College of Speech Sciences. Maggie Snowling, who worked with her during these years says: ‘She was a pioneer; not only one of the first speech and language therapists to complete a doctorate…but she also negotiated and established the first large degree programme in Speech Sciences’. Maggie also says: ‘Perhaps our over-riding collective memory is of a leader who never looked flustered; always serene and elegantly dressed, gliding as if on invisible roller skates across the staff room’.

Jean decided to retire early and bought the Old Drill Hall in Topsham with her husband, who was then Chief Executive at the National Hospital. She turned her energies to new activities: bridge, travelling, entertaining. They both became involved as volunteers with the local Topsham museum and with NADFAS. She was chair of the local branch and then area chair. One of her great delights was going to hear Professor David Crystal, the eminent linguist, at the Dartington Way with Words. They had worked together a lot in London and he remembers Jean as ‘my oldest speech therapy mentor’. ‘I learned so much from her’, he says. ‘She will be hugely missed’.

Jean welcomed us all to her home; we could never visit often enough. She was intensely interested in our lives and in those of her friends and other people around her. She loved entertaining, and was a lively hostess and guest, a good listener as well as a lively – and opinionated! – talker. As Jean’s Parkinson’s disease, her failing sight and other ailments gradually worsened she refused to give in. ‘I don’t do old age,’ she announced not so long ago.

After News Year Day she was admitted to hospital where she died on 9 January. There was no time for farewells. She was as business like in leaving life as she had been in leading it. Jean: we shall miss you.




The scholarship is undergoing planning to make a number of changes in the coming months. If there are any alumni with specific skills that could help, then please get in touch with Russ on 07767-797-335. Specifically, we are looking for help with taxation, marketing and legal issues.

The Scholarship is now funded largely by gifts made by our unique network of Alumni – from the returning scholars who donate each month through a standing order, to the couple who now give more than £2,000 a year. Please consider joining them if you can, both in memory and tribute of your own scholarship and of the many special people who made your journey something you will always treasure.  To become part of the Alumni network who now enable others in this way, find a simple form below to set up a regular gift via standing order, (and also a gift aid form to enable the scholarship to reclaim tax on every penny we can).

A NEW DONATE Paypal button is now available on the website. The button is a HASSLE-FREE option that will enable you to make a one-off payment or a regular donation without having to cut, complete and send a form.

There’s no reason not to donate now ?


Donation and Gift Aid Form

Name and address of your bank (including postcode)



Instructions to your bank:  Please make payments and debit my/our account number:

…………………………………………………, Sort Code: ………………………………………. to the account of Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship (Account 96876077, Nat West Bank, Nottingham City Branch, Unit 27, Victoria Centre, Nottingham NG1 3QD, Sort code 60-80-09) with the sum of: £10, £25, £50 Other £ ……. per month until further notice, starting on …………………………… or as soon thereafter. Please quote reference …………………………………………….(to be inserted by NRMTS),

In order to Gift Aid your donation please tick the box below.

 I want to Gift Aid my donation and any donations I make in the future or have made in the past 4 years to Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship (Charity number 512941). I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year it is my responsibility to pay any difference.

Signature(s): ……………………………………………………….. Date: …………………………… (today’s date)


Your name (capitals please) (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms): ………………………………………………………….

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Please return this form to NRMTS at the following address:

Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship

c/o Treasurer – Russ Blenkinsop, Willow Cottage, 8 The Corner, Lowdham, Notts NG14 7AE


Newsletter December 2018

Welcome from the Chairman Mick Burrows

My April update covered a wide range of activities and events, and there are a few further developments to share with you. Firstly, I was delighted to see Ben and Tori selected as this year’s scholars. Since being appointed as Chairman I have been impressed with the commitment, enthusiasm and calibre of scholars past and present, clearly the selection process is working well.

We celebrated in style at this year’s event in June, once again our sincere thanks to Gareth Bartsch and his family for their fantastic support and generous hospitality. The Celebration event enabled us to hear from existing and past scholars, the experiences, developments, networks and knowledge gained are very powerful and left us all with a sense of what a unique opportunity our scholarship creates. It was also great to have Cllr Sue Saddington (Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council) and Cllr Liaqat Ali (Lord Mayor Nottingham) taking time out of their busy agenda to be with us.

Courtesy of a former scholar, Chris Aylett, who is now the CEO of Motorsport Industry Association, Russ, Sheridan and myself had the pleasure of meeting with our Rushcliffe MP, Ken Clarke. Chris remains a keen advocate and facilitated what was an extremely positive meeting. One outcome was the drive to develop an increased marketing and communication plan as we acknowledged that despite existing since the 1940’s the Scholarship remains fairly unknown across Nottinghamshire. An offer to make contact with the US Embassy and the American Ambassador was proposed by Ken Clarke. Once we have the right marketing vehicles this will be taken up. If any past scholar has expertise in this area please contact Russ. Our thanks to Chris for his timely intervention, advice and support as it is greatly valued.

Meantime, the Management Team and Trustees continue to raise the profile through networking opportunities and known contacts. Please let us know if you know of any opportunities to help share our story as we have a number of scholars and Trustees who would be happy to attend and lead presentations. We continue to pursue a number of potential developments building on our links with the two Universities, large local businesses and a number of local entrepreneurs who have expressed strong interest.

Finally, three items. Firstly, to help with our marketing, you will recall that I asked in the April newsletter if any past scholars had any testimonials, in particular any testimonials that highlight the benefit to a business for supporting a scholar or any other ideas or suggestions that you feel we might consider. Please keep sending in your thoughts. Secondly, at the last Trustee meeting we agreed to improve the reach of our advertising, we could do with your help with contacting local organisations. We know that a named contact rather than a cold call secures much greater impact. Please let Russ know which names/organisations you have contact with. We can then arrange for the flyer and a supporting letter to be sent to any participating organisation with your help.

Thirdly, my thanks to all those of you who are giving their time, energy and commitment in support of our aims and ambitions.

Mick Burrows


2018 Celebration Event

The annual Celebration Event took place on Friday June 29th 2018 at Manners Arms, Knipton. At the event we congratulated and welcomed our two new scholars Tori Harrison and Ben Felstead into the Roosevelt Club family. We also welcomed back our returning scholars Gareth Morgan and Miles Waghorn, who gave fabulous talks with energy and excitement about their experiences in the USA.
The event was also attended by our civic guest Cllr Sue Saddington, Chairman of the County Council and Cllr Liaqat Ali, Lord Mayor of Nottingham.



Meeting with Kenneth Clarke MP and Chris Alyett, Alumni Scholar & CEO of the Motorsport Association.

A meeting took place with Rushcliffe MP, Ken Clarke, to discuss his views and ideas to move the Scholarship forward. The meeting was facilitated by Chris Aylett, Roosevelt Scholarship and now the CEO Motorsport Industry Association. All attendees agreed that the Roosevelt Scholarship was unique and should continue…but we need to articulate our story and its impact.
Picture above: Mick Burrows, Chris Aylett, Ken Clarke, Russ Blenkinsop, and Sheridan Chilvers.



The application window for the 2019 Roosevelt Applications will begin from January 1st. Prospective candidates will have until Friday 1st March to complete and submit their application form via the website. Initial interviews will take place on Tuesday 19th March, with the final interview taking place on 25th April 2019. Please signpost prospective candidates to the Roosevelt Scholarship website :

Let Russ know if you can help spread the word

Key Dates:
Friday 1st March 2019 – Closing date for applications
Tuesday 19th March 2019 – Initial Interviews date
Thursday 25th April 2019 – AGM and Final Interviews date


Angelena Efstathiou- 2017

This time last year I set off on my adventure across the U.S.A (and Canada) and since returning in February 2018 I have been busy with Nottinghamshire Bat Group and with completing my Masters degree at Nottingham Trent University. I was elected Chair of the Bat Group in March this year and since then have taken on the co-ordination of the Group whilst also helping to deliver the final stages of our Heritage Lottery Funded project. In the beginning of November we launched the Bats of Nottinghamshire Book (available here – and I am involved in writing the Species Action Plan for Bats in Nottinghamshire! I also had to go back to Malawi over the summer to collect more data for my research project on ‘The Impacts of Roost Exclusion on the Foraging Ecology of the White Bellied Free Tailed Bat’ which I am now working on getting published! It has been a busy year so far and I am hoping in 2019 to use more of my skills and knowledge gained on the Scholarship to improve nature conservation in Nottinghamshire!


Gareth Morgan – 2017

I’ve been back for almost a year now and much of that has been spent working on Hoodwinked: Robin’s Tales. This is a Nottingham-wide arts and literacy programme which over 13000 children aged 5-11 in 53 Nottingham City Primary Schools participated in over the course of the summer term (May-July 2018) both in and out of school.
This has seen the creation of 56 amazing BookBenches which the schools designed, decorated and incorporated into their curriculum throughout the first half of the term. These BookBenches were then displayed across Nottingham and its neighbourhoods for the second half of the summer term and over the summer holiday break in libraries, leisure centres and shopping centres. As part of the programme, the project’s partners, including our headline education sponsor Boots UK, supported and engaged schools, their pupils and staff in a renewed push to create a culture of “reading for pleasure” in their everyday learning.


Sarah Taylor – 2016

Since returning from the scholarship, I have embedded some of my findings in to Green Scene Education which has helped to enrich our service. It was a fantastic opportunity to see how others are urban farming and provided lots of new ideas that I have been able to adopt. One of the direct impacts the trip has had on my business is the decision to convert to a Community Interest Company after visiting many Not-for-profits in The States. The inspiration I drew from the trip has been incredible and I hope to launch my own Nottingham Urban Farm in the near future! Upon my return, I met my partner and made a decision to take a year out and head back to North America to live and work in Toronto. I have recently returned home and miss it dearly. However, I have fire in my belly to grow Green Scene Education and have many plans in the pipeline for working with various Nottingham organisations to create a greener future!





The scholarship is undergoing planning to make a number of changes in the coming months. If there are any alumni with specific skills that could help, then please get in touch with Russ on 07767-797-335. Specifically, we are looking for help with taxation, marketing and legal issues.

The Scholarship is now funded largely by gifts made by our unique network of Alumni – from the returning scholars who donate each month through a standing order, to the couple who now give more than £2,000 a year. Please consider joining them if you can, both in memory and tribute of your own scholarship and of the many special people who made your journey something you will always treasure.  To become part of the Alumni network who now enable others in this way, find a simple form below to set up a regular gift via standing order, (and also a gift aid form to enable the scholarship to reclaim tax on every penny we can).

A NEW DONATE button is now available on the website. The button is a HASSLE-FREE option that will enable you to make a one-off payment or a regular donation without having to cut, complete and send a form.

There’s no reason not to donate now ?


Donate to us through BT MyDonate

Update from Ben Felstead – 2018 SCHOLAR  and

The Roosevelt Travelling Memorial Scholarship has been a journey that I will never forget. The trip was a life changing experience and I would like to show my appreciation and share thanks with all of the Members of the board, the past scholars I interacted and the Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship family as a whole for gifting me this opportunity. I would like to especially thank Russ Blenkinsop and Sheridan Chilvers for all of the hard work they put into my Roosevelt Scholarship. The Scholarship not only reached all of my expectations whilst in the States but prior to the trip it has also attracted my interest towards local politics through the engagement with County Hall, the County Mayor and City Major, and it has also provided me with a new enhanced obsession for Nottingham – our City and Counties history and our current and future affairs.

Travelling through the United States of America visiting (14) States, (34) organisations, (7) hosts and host families and everything that I did in-between definitely achieved my ambitions of seeing a diverse range of culture, community and environment. Throughout the scholarship, I explored a vast range of community arts and their application. I visited organisations that use music, visual arts, poetry, opera, digital arts, dance, theatre, photography and film, and I worked alongside organisations that delivered these art forms in a range of contexts, tackling social, environmental, cultural and racial issues that affect people within their local communities.

In all instances, I witnessed the artist as a great communicator, a vital medium that when placed in a community setting can have a profound effect on the mindset and wellbeing of the community they work within. Overall I was blown away at the level in which community arts are delivered, funded and evaluated across the States. The organisations I visited were at the forefront of tackling, raising awareness and breaking down barriers within political and social issues and this was honoured through the high level of private funding that support the arts and non-for profit organisations throughout America.

The Scholarship has provided me with new skills, knowledge and an overseas network of like-minded community practitioners. It has refreshed my passion and drive to champion the arts as a method to engage community groups and socially excluded groups, and to use the arts to tackle wider issues on a local, national and global scale. I have so many new ideas and visions of where I would like the directions of my community arts work to develop too and now have a Trans-Atlantic support group of like-minded professionals that I can call upon for ideas, practice sharing and also collaborative projects.

The Scholarship allowed me to step back and observe community arts in a new context and environment. It exposed the value the arts can have upon the individual and local communities as a collective and it showed me the power of the artist as a communicator and community mentor. The scholarship has refreshed my vision of how I can to continue to develop my ideas and my work within the community sector; strengthening and supporting socially excluded members of the community in Nottingham. The arts are so important in shaping our community, promoting expressionism, providing a lifeline and support network and offering a platform for unheard voices.

Throughout the scholarship, I interviewed most of the community arts practitioners, organisations and participants I worked with. I am currently working on putting this together as a documentary. I focused my interviews on exploring what community meant to them, what were the main issues impacting their local community and how they felt that the arts could strengthen and support these issues. The main issues that were highlighted in the interviews were very similar to the issues that face us in Nottingham. Homelessness, Gang Culture, Gentrification and Displacement, Drug Abuse, Mental Health, Physical Health, Environmental Detachment, Environmental Issues, Racial Discrimination and Segregation, Immigration, Underserved Community Facilities and Areas, Health Care Access and Social Inclusion.

The entire trip was amazing, and all of the organisations I visited inspired and educated me in many different areas. At Totem Star I saw the power of having positive mentors from the arts in the lives of young people from underserved communities. I witnessed Urban Artworks and their work towards liberating young people from underserved backgrounds to take ownership of their City and in the process to earn money from their efforts. The Delridge Arts Festival offered a perfect example of how the Arts – Music, Film, Photography and Visual Arts can facilitate and ignite this interaction and build a passion towards reconnecting with our natural surroundings. Supporting our individual well-being and act as a platform where education, preservation and exploration of pressing environmental issues can be explored. Creativity Explored taught me the value of showcasing participants work, enforcing my ideologies around everyone already being an artist – that they do not have to work tirelessly at learning to be an artist, more just being involved and the production of creative work mean you are already an artist. The LAPD taught me a lot about community activism and how the Arts can present, explore and showcase community issues. In the same light, UCEPP focused on educating and supporting homeless residents from Skidrow on the local politics and systems that so drastically affect their lives. Through doing this they empower the community members to take an active role in trying to positively develop their situation.

I learnt so much from Chris Jonas about the ethos of his organisation Little Globe and also around their approach to their community artists personal development. Wisefool presented to me how we can use the arts alongside community and community issues to lobby for equality, change and fairness within the community. Say Si exampled the 10 rules of community work that came out of the Wallace Foundations report. Rules such as; Executive directors that have a deep, public commitment to the arts, Professional, practising artists as teachers and Dedicated, inspiring and welcoming spaces in which young people can practice their arts. And finally SOUP was an extremely inspirational visit for me. The organisation showed me a way to provide funding for grassroots organisations, individuals and ideas. It provides this platform by focusing on the individuals within the local community and financially supporting their ideas on how to shape their own communities through crowdfunding. These are just a handful of examples of my findings and the journey I travelled during my Roosevelt scholarship.

Throughout my time in the States I have met organisations that fight tirelessly for social and racial justice, organisations that continue to fight for basic sanitisation rights for the forgotten and underserved members of the community. I have met organisations that use the arts to create safe places for members of the community, people that did not already have a safe place where they feel comfortable to learn, create and build positive relationships and express themselves. Safe spaces were one parent of a woman with disabilities said was a space that was the “Lifeline and glue that held her daughter’s life together”.

I have visited organisations that work for young people and families that need extra support. The young people that go off the radar. The forgotten young people from areas that don’t seem to have the same privilege and opportunity as the ’other places’. They don’t have the same schools, the same hospitals and doctors, the same transport links, the same access to food or even the same treatment by the police. I have worked with organisations that try and try to give these young people some extra opportunity, some extra support and in some cases even financial support for their participation. I have worked with organisations that are working hard to re-establish the arts back into schools. I have worked with organisations that offer a platform to the community through the Arts – whether that’s through voice, through painting a mural, planning arts, through dance, theatre, photography and film. And I have worked with organisations that reconnect people to the natural world around us to help develop and maintain a positive mental health and wellbeing.

Throughout all of this, I have learnt that it is the Community Artist that facilitates this. I have learnt the power of an artist using their passion and talent to support and creatively nurture the people within local communities, offering them a family, a friendship network, a new perspective and a new perspective.

From this, I have learnt about the importance to pursue the training and development of artists within the community. To champion the artist as the medium between educational, government, authority systems and our local communities.

I have learnt about the value that must be put on a community artists’ work and the power that the arts have in transforming people’s lives. One of the key points of the Wallace Foundation report from Say Si was to value the arts and value the development of the arts within their community. The other key point was to provide relevant training, development and support the artistic practice of the arts pedagogues delivering the sessions, workshops. With the arts being cut and suffering in educational systems – arts practice within the community must bridge this gap – for this the deliverers of the arts need to develop not only their community practice but also maintain and develop and push the boundaries of their own practice in order for their own work and consequently their community work not becoming stale.

During the Scholarship I have delivered a number of sessions and seminars where I focused my delivery towards my work as a community artist. I wanted to talk to the young people and hopefully inspire them towards seeing community art as a career path. I have been approached by Nottingham Trent University to do a talk to their Youth & Community BA Students in January 2019, where I intend on talking about the above and also the importance of community artists and leaders to explore social and racial injustice.

My plans post the scholarship are to bring together artists from within Nottingham and show my documentary alongside a talk and then an open discussion. I also want to launch C.A.N (Community Artist Network) and build a database of artists, running ’creative’ days where groups of multi-discipline artists come together and take on various arts challenges. For my work at the YMCA the scholarship has provided  me a wealth of ideas and plans for potential projects and programs that I will be working towards trying to develop and integrate into our department.

Throughout my travels, I used a service called Servas to connect and find hosts within the United States. Servas International is a not-for-profit, non-governmental federation of national Servas groups, encompassing an international network of hosts and travellers. The purpose of the network is to help build world peace, goodwill and understanding by providing opportunities for personal contacts among people of different cultures, backgrounds and nationalities.

Servas ended up being the glue that held my Scholarship and travels together. Throughout the trip, I stayed with 7 different Servas hosts. Every host was absolutely amazing and so hospitable to my visit. They not only hosted me but all of the hosts actively helped me in the planning of my scholarship, connecting with a range of local organisations. All of my hosts really did treat me like family. They introduced me to local foods, introduced me to their friends and family and also took me to all the best local attractions, things to see and community events.

Overall being able to visit so many organisations and also being given the opportunity to deliver workshops and talks throughout the scholarship has boosted my confidence and also my vision for myself as community arts, artists and personalities. Navigating through the States, organisations transport, travel, accommodations and all of the visits has shown that my project management, time management and also my perseverance and passion to push through and to complete a task – is a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. It has refreshed my ambitions and passions for striving towards helping people and pushing for change, equality, social/racial justice and environmental issues. At the beginning of the scholarship, before I had even travelled to the States we got the opportunity to visit County Hall and also to meet the Mayor. This introduction to local politics is something that I would like to get more involved in. The scholarship has inspired me and opened up a new passion for local politics, something that on a national and global level I have always shied away from, as I didn’t believe in one voice being able to make the change. I now see that with the work I deliver and passion I have for supporting and working for various communities, local politics would be a great area for me to explore where we can make direct changes to issues right in front of us.



The Scholarship goes on providing opportunities for local young people to make their own journey to transform their career, aspirations and self-confidence – on an unbroken path now trodden by over 150 scholars over 68 years.  In each newsletter we will bring you a story, pictures or memories from passed scholars.

ALUMNI – Chris Aylett

I can honestly say now, some 40 years later, that winning the scholarship was a life-changing experience for me. I knew nothing of the United States, and took this chance to travel as widely as I possibly could, to as many States from East to West, North to South, to experience as wide a range of activities as possible. I spoke at dinners, met new business contacts, made friends with people who remain friends ever since, and gained more first-hand experience of the real United States than many of my American friends have done in a lifetime.
Directly from speaking at dinners, I was approached by an NYSE company, who later engaged me to look after mergers and acquisitions in Europe. I took this job at aged 24 and they admitted that it was purely having heard me speak whilst as a Nottingham Roosevelt Scholar, that they took a chance on me. This career path led me into an entirely new area of business which kept me occupied and busy throughout my life – and led me to my current position. I know of no other scholarship that has the power to change lives and I admire the work of the entire team and supporters of this excellent scheme.


ALUMNI – June Wilson

My name is June Wilson. In 1929, I was born and raised in West Bridgford and went to the local Grammar school. Then I became a hairdresser. In those days, it was a five-year course, three years as an apprentice and two years as an improver. Then I was considered a hairdresser. English had been my best subject at school so people presumed I would become a secretary or a teacher, but I became “just a hairdresser” as some people described me.

In 1955, I heard about the Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship and I was fascinated. I applied and said “As a hairdresser, am I eligible to apply?” and gave a brief history of my life so far. I received a telegram a week or two later telling me where and when to go for the first interview, which I did. I heard there were fifty six of us applying so was amazed to hear I had made it to the short list of thirteen.

I studied even harder to learn about the U.S.A. and about a month later, I attended my second interview at Nottingham Council House. The whole board was there, and they all asked me questions. I went home overwhelmed and soon the phone rang. It was Mr. George Spence, the chairman of the board. He said “I thought I’d put you out of your misery and tell you, you will be travelling on the Queen Elizabeth from Southampton to New York on August 11th with the two men who have also won. You’ll be having dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt at her home”. He gave me a bit more information and said I’d get the details later.

Imagine hearing news like that! From then on, my life changed. I had to decide where in the U.S.A. I would be travelling and by what means, bus, train, plane or boat. Then I took my information to Cooks Travel, the selected travel agency, who figured out how much of my scholarship funds I would need to cover the travel costs and how much I would have left over for everyday living and accommodation. It sounded daunting. I hoped I’d manage my funds successfully.

In August, we three sailed across the Atlantic to New York. We went to our hotel in Times Square, an exciting and busy place. Unfortunately, Eleanor Roosevelt had gone to Tokyo on business, so her son John and his wife Anne had us for dinner in Eleanor’s townhouse.

The two male scholars left New York after one night in our hotel. They were on their way to live their adventures. I stayed a few more days. I had met a few people who had invited me to various events, so I experienced life the way Americans lived it. It was amazing!

Eventually, I moved on northwards. When I got near the border of Canada, I couldn’t resist seeing Niagara Falls. I was on a bus and a ticket collector came along asking for our visas. For some reason, he had to rewrite mine. Originally, it gave me six months to stay in the U.S.A. When I looked at my new visa, he had added an extra month. I told him and he said “Oh well, you’d like an extra month wouldn’t you? I used every day of it. For seven months, I wandered all over the U.S.A. having the most extraordinary experiences, very often not knowing where I would be sleeping that night. I was invited so often to stay with people I met, which saved me a lot of money.

I had Joined the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, NAACP, and, whenever I could, I went to their meetings. They always ended up singing. They were so talented musically. I loved to hear them. By the time I got back to New York, the day before my ship Queen Mary sailed, I’d had seven months dealing with whatever situations presented themselves. I had about twelve dollars left. I had booked myself into a cheap Y.W.C.A. in the dock area. With no more appointments to keep, I wandered the local streets.

There was a man walking ahead of me. He looked familiar. I got closer and saw that it was John Roosevelt. He remembered me and said his mother had been asking about me. He asked me when I would be going home. I said “tomorrow”. He went to a phone booth nearby. He came back and said, ” You’re seeing my mother this afternoon. She’s going to fit you in between her appointments”

I couldn’t believe it! I walked to the allotted place and actually had a lovely conversation with Eleanor for about twenty minutes. Imagine! What an end to my trip! Next day, I had just enough dollars to get a taxi to my ship. Back in Nottingham, I had quite a few opportunities to show and tell people about my experiences and maybe help other young people to try their luck at winning the scholarship.

By this time, I was a different person, more confident and experienced in many ways. I went on to start my own business as a hairdresser and eventually as an image consultant. In my old age, I’m really enjoying myself and often think of how my life was improved very much for the better by that wonderful, exciting Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship.




The scholarship is undergoing planning to make a number of changes in the coming months. If there are any alumni with specific skills that could help, then please get in touch with Russ on 07767-797-335. Specifically, we are looking for help with taxation, marketing and legal issues.

The Scholarship is now funded largely by gifts made by our unique network of Alumni – from the returning scholars who donate each month through a standing order, to the couple who now give more than £2,000 a year. Please consider joining them if you can, both in memory and tribute of your own scholarship and of the many special people who made your journey something you will always treasure.  To become part of the Alumni network who now enable others in this way, find a simple form below to set up a regular gift via standing order, (and also a gift aid form to enable the scholarship to reclaim tax on every penny we can).

A NEW DONATE button is now available on the website. The button is a HASSLE-FREE option that will enable you to make a one-off payment or a regular donation without having to cut, complete and send a form.

There’s no reason not to donate now ?


Donate to us through BT MyDonate

Newsletter April 2018

Update from Chairman Mick Burrows

I thought it might be useful to update you on what’s been happening over the past five months or so across the scholarship.

Firstly, I would like to thank those of you who have given so generously. Contributions and support have arrived in many different and varied forms. I include, very kind individuals who have contributed financial support, also those past scholars who have given very valued advice, suggestions and personal offers to support. I would also like to thank all the scholars who have so brilliantly represented the scholarship in the media, on the radio, at a wide range of business and other local clubs. You have really given meaning and purpose to the aims and benefits of the scholarship in a very positive and professional manner.

I also want to thank my fellow Trustees who help govern and guide the scholarship. I value the time and dedication given by Sheridan, Ed, Gab, and Gareth who all run very dynamic businesses and the support and enthusiasm from Keith with the US perspective. It’s really valuable having the support of the Chairman of the County Council, I know Cllr John Handley is very busy but gives his time very generously to us. We also value the presence of the Lord Mayor Cllr Mike Edwards. I also thank Cllr Yvonne Woodhead who is now a Trustee and very generously dedicated her local fund to the scholarship and Cllr Merlita Bryan for her support on local radio.

Most importantly, the Scholarship continues to develop and deliver thanks to Russ and the small but incredibly effective management team who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure everything happens.

We still face a significant financial challenge. We continue to remain unsustainable due to very challenging financial climate. We have however had some very generous individual contributions which will enable support for two scholars this year.  Our financial proposals move us away from public sector support to individual and corporate support. We have met with a number of bodies and organisations so far without fruition. We are now preparing a more dynamic and collective approach to revisit large Corporate businesses.

We continue to pursue positive relationships with local organisations and bodies. Many of these are based on individual approaches and networks including Business Clubs, Universities, The Bromley Library etc.

Last year’s scholars have further reinforced the tremendous benefit and value the Scholarship provides. Building on this experience we have slightly altered the selection process adding greater challenge and seeking stronger returns from the successful applicants. This year has witnessed another very strong field of potential scholars, final interviews take place later this month.

Finally, our AGM is re-scheduled for May. Trustees will be asking what else we need to do to ensure the continuation of the scholarship. We all believe our relationship with the US is increasingly important in light of all the dynamics we currently face as a nation. We also believe that we should be aiming to support five scholars a year in return for the overall effort applied.  This requires a sustainable income stream of around £10k per annum.

Be assured we as Trustees will do whatever we can to secure whatever finances can be levered. However, to best present our case to local companies we would value any testimonials you as past scholars may be able to provide, in particular any testimonials that highlight the benefit to a business for supporting a scholar. I look forward to your feedback, as ever we readily welcome any other ideas or suggestions you may have. Please don’t hesitate to contact Russ directly, email or phone 07767 -797335 with your ideas.

Best wishes







In April 2017, I was awarded the Nottinghamshire Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship. I remember the phone call and I was in disbelief! As the excitement settled down the task ahead became even more apparent, I thought of all the organisations and places I wanted to visit. My eleven weeks in the States (and a hop over the border to Canada) took me across eleven State lines, and into the homes of many kind people.

I arrived in the USA at LAX, Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Day (23rd November). I visited nearly 30 cities and  managed to jam pack my schedule with meetings, visiting researchers, learning from NGO’s and businesses as well as going into schools with local bat species. My aims were to understand more on species recovery programs and youth engagement with wildlife.

I met with researchers and curators from the Los Angeles Natural History Museum; San Diego NHM and the New York NHM where I learnt more about school programs, their delivery and citizen science. Although I never made it to Yellowstone NP, I did get to meet with top researchers at Yale who have been studying the wolf re introductions there for years to learn more about the species themselves and their interaction with the ecosystem. I also got to go to the Wolf Conservation Centre in upstate New York, who participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) and Recovery Plan for two critically endangered wolf species, the Mexican grey wolf and the red wolf. The WCC also has an education program of both onsite and offsite visits through which they engage with schools about wolf biology, the ecological benefits of wolves and other large predators.

Each State is so different with its policies and funds that it is more like the countries of the EU. Species legislation varies as do protection measures and the same if true of the school educational curriculum. It was interesting to see the cultural differences between States and even language use. This creates different challenges for organisations across the USA. In Michigan I helped in delivery of school education programs with Organization for Bat Conservation. This was to kids from the age of six up to sixteen. One of the schools was a strict Christian school and so it was interesting delivering a program on bats there as we were not to speak much about evolution or better yet at all.

I only truly have understood the vastness of the country now I have travelled from West to East Coast. The landscapes are also fantastic, on the day I visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona we managed to travel through five ecosystems in a day. I was not expecting to see forest in Arizona! It wasn’t just about wildlife though; the art museums and street art were exceptional in places and the food and music too. Texas really surprised me for its great food, lively atmosphere, street art and of course huge bat populations in several areas. I’d love to go back and see the bat bridge in Austin at its peak in summer. It was my first ever Christmas away from my family, I spent the day birdwatching and at the beach. I also managed to stay with three past Scholars as well as a Roosevelt family member. Dr Anna Roosevelt, from the Theodore lineage, and professor in Anthropology at the University of Illinois.

Overall the Scholarship helped me develop so many skills as well as making a more courageous person. I made so many new friends and connections over there I can’t wait to collaborate and see what the future holds. I have already hosted back one of my hosts from America, Christy who I stayed with Austin.



Miles Waghorn – “A reunion of business and pleasure”

As we approach 8 months since I returned from the US, there have been many advances, but there is one that sticks out as being the most influential. In some ways it’s flown by, but in others it’s been jam-packed with progress and feels like a long time ago indeed.

Whilst researching who to meet with on my trip, I recalled a LinkedIn Message from a US-based tech company which specialises in helping seniors benefit from technology. I quickly got back in touch and was passed on to the founder of the company. Like many people I reached out to, he was interested in my research subject and intrigued in why I was coming to the States, but understandably I was not at the top of his agenda.

After struggling to be in the same city at the same time, I eventually secured a Skype meeting with him. They were at their Silicon Valley HQ whilst I was in the dreary lobby of a Houston hotel. From the second we started talking, we both seemed to question why we had not spoken sooner. There was a clear alignment of passions to help older people live a better life and reconnect them to loved ones and the world around us.

After months of discussion about how we could work together, in October of last year we met in (a much nicer) hotel lobby, this time in London. We got to hold their fantastic product for the first time and begin to piece together how our commercial relationship may take place, as well as discuss the hilarious cultural differences between the USA and UK (he ordered a single malt scotch whiskey, which ended up being a single measure of Bells!) Fast-forward to April 2018 and I’ve just got back from meeting up with them in Manchester. It’s so incredible to have someone fly halfway across the world from what was born out of a chance LinkedIn message.

As we’re getting towards the final stage of securing our relationship, this could go down in Roosevelt scholarship history. Not only as a fantastic transatlantic partnership, but a way that thousands of older people across the UK will benefit from technology brought over from the USA, as a direct result of my trip.

Unfortunately like most business deals, I cannot say any more about the product or company until ‘the ink is dry’, but even if it doesn’t come through, the connections I’ve made will be life-changing for me and other Nottinghamshire seniors, as well as helping my company TechSilver employ and grow in the local area.



Gareth Morgan

In October and November last year, I travelled from New York to San Francisco as one of the 2017 Nottingham Roosevelt scholars. My aim was to work with literary and literacy organisations across the US who support the learning of children in elementary grades (7-11, equivalent of primary phase/KS2). In my two months in the States, I volunteered with 27 literacy organisations, 1 university and one Presidential library (no prizes for guessing which one). This included visiting the grave of DH Lawrence in Taos, New Mexico, and Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, our sister city in the Creative Cities Network. I took the perhaps unorthodox approach, in an attempt to keep my carbon footprint for the trip low, to not take any internal flights on the trip too – clocking up over 7000 miles on Greyhound buses, Amtrak, Ubers and blagged/incredibly generous lifts. I also handed out an inordinate amount of Robin Hood hats to hosts, friends and organisations I worked with.

My route was plotted around the 826 Network of literacy programmes/esoteric shops – their pirate/super hero/time travel stores helping fund their education projects! As such I visited 826 NYC & The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store, 826 DC & Tivoli’s Astounding Magical Supply Store, 826 Chicago & the Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Store, 826 LA & the Echo Park and Mar Vista Time Travel Marts and 826 Valencia (San Francisco) and the Pirate Supply Store // the Tenderloin Centre and King Carl’s Emporium. This/these organisations were instrumental in the development of my thinking around what could be the Nottingham equivalent and I am in the process of writing a strategic development plan and setting out what our USP would be – did someone say Robin Hood store….?

826 was not the only organisation that I engaged with and from taking specially trained “reading dogs” into elementary schools in South Chicago to devising and reading stories with children in West Dallas, I discovered more and more about the differences, the similarities, the things we can learn and the things I’m eternally grateful for existing in the country that will

It wasn’t all work: I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with my friend Kelly from university in Modesto, CA, and Halloween with my cousin Tina in Alton, IL. I spent a sunny few days with the wonderfully affable 1977 scholar Ansar Haroun and his family in San Diego and paid visits to FDR and Mrs Roosevelt memorials in New York, Hyde Park and Washington – digging through the Roosevelt Archives too, finding many hidden gems from the scholarship’s history and many telegrams from Mrs Roosevelt to our scholarship secretary. I also visited Arlington Cemetery to visit the memorial to 503 US Airborne who were stationed at Wollaton Hall ahead to the Allied invasion of occupied France in 1944.

America is held up as a “land of opportunity”. For me, this opportunity was to eat burritos or ribs for every meal I could afford, and WalMart for everything else. I am sadly still unable to find diet root beer or Mountain Dew or Corn Nuts very easily in the UK – bad for my taste buds, but probably good for my cholesterol.

Since landing back in the UK in December, I’ve managed to pick up some work off the back of the scholarship (I’m a freelancer so the trip was one of uncertainty on my return with no guaranteed job to slot back into) which is allowing me to use elements of the pedagogy and engagement ideas with 53 primary schools in Nottingham that are taking part in the project I’m managing. Plus, I’ve been meeting with teacher networks, libraries, national charities and Nottingham City Council about implementing some of the expertise, not least the children’s learning continuum that I discovered working with Read On Arizona in Phoenix. This could hugely expand the scope of the city’s engagement with children’s reading development, expanding the age range worked with from 0-5 to 0-8. I’ve also been invited to the International Dolly Parton Imagination Library Conference 2018 by their International Director Angie who I met in Pigeon Forge, TN.  I also hope to visit places I could make work in the timing of my trip: Boston and their 826 centre and Big Foot Research Institute there, Seattle, now a UNESCO City of Literature, and returning to San Francisco for the 826 development seminar to support the launching of what could become an 826-inspired space in Nottingham.




Update on 2018 Application Process by Russ Blenkinsop

The eight short-listed applicants for 2018 were all very strong candidates and serious contenders for the Scholarship. They included a barrister, recording artist/teacher, fundraiser, self-employed artists and youth workers.

Four have been selected to go through to the final interview with the Trustees on Thursday April 26th. One of the applicants also reached this final stage last year. All are aware that we are only offering 6-week scholarships (with a £1500 stipend, up to £200 for insurance and a round trip air fare to New York). All four have said they would accept the shorter scholarship and would look to fund raise to extend the trip to three months.

The interview panel consisted of Rachel Armitage, Miles Waghorn, Gareth Morgan, Liz Blenkinsop and Russ Blenkinsop. Three of the panel are self-employed and spent a very long day listening to the most interesting people and their projects and then painstakingly deciding who should go through and what appropriate words to say to those who were unsuccessful.  Thank you all.

The time slots and questions were improved from last year and application process continues to evolve to ensure successful candidates will represent the Scholarship, their employer and Nottinghamshire to the highest standard.


BBC Radio Nottingham’s Mayflower 2020 Quilt

A quilt showcasing 400 years of Nottinghamshire’s history was donated as a special gift to the United States. It was created by the Nottinghamshire branch of the Quilters’ Guild, highlighting the origins of the Pilgrim Fathers. BBC Radio Nottingham has been campaigning to honour the likes of William Brewster, from Scrooby, who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620.

Although the Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship did not feature on the quilt, it highlights the diverse history and associations between the USA and Nottingham.



Mayflower 2020 Campaign

The Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship is working to develop a partnership with the Mayflower 2020 campaign. The campaign marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts. This is a unique opportunity to commemorate the legacy of the passengers and crew who undertook the journey and to highlight their stories and heritage, which is embedded in communities across the UK, US and Netherlands.

The Mayflower 400 programme has been created to leverage this opportunity, aligning 11 core destinations in England with wider local, national and international partners and over 10 million US citizens who descended from the Mayflower passengers. It will deliver a world-class series of events, public art and wider content that will commemorate this exceptional voyage and provide a major ongoing impact across the partnership, knitting together communities, inspiring creativity and culture, driving economic growth, and promoting understanding and education.

Mayflower 400 will champion the values of freedom, faith and personal liberty that informed the original journey, and which continue to be articulated in the special relationship between the UK, US and Netherlands. At the same time, the commemoration will recognise the impact of the Mayflower’s journey on Native American communities and address themes of colonialism and migration, providing an accurate, inclusive account of the Mayflower’s legacy.

Scrooby & Babworth, Nottinghamshire

The leading religious Separatists who voyaged to America in 1620 were originally from the Bassetlaw area of Nottinghamshire, where their beliefs were shaped. Regarded as dangerous religious renegades who rejected fundamental principles of the State and the established Church of England, they worshipped in secret to avoid arrest and persecution.

Among them was William Brewster who was brought up in Scrooby. Inspired by the radical words of Richard Clifton, the rector of nearby All Saints’ Church, Babworth, Brewster is believed to have founded a Separatist Church in his family home – the (privately owned) manor house at Scrooby. He was fined for non-attendance at St. Wilfrid’s Church in Scrooby but was respected as an elder and spiritual guide, and played a significant role in the congregation’s later journeys. (Text Source:

Americans in Nottingham…

Prince Harry and Megan Merkle visit Nottingham

On their first official joint royal engagement in the UK, Prince Harry, who has visited Nottingham eight times in the last five years, was keen to introduce his American fiancee to a community ‘that has become very special to him’, his spokesman said.

The couple were visiting the Nottingham Contemporary, which is hosting a Terrence Higgins Trust World Aids Day charity fair, to meet head-teachers from local schools and those working for Full Effect, a programme aimed at combating youth crime set up by the Royal Foundation, of which Markle will become a patron.

Professor Peter Romary takes Oath of Office as judge at the Nottingham Law School

The 7th March 2018 marked a historic legal ritual, thought not to have taken place in the UK since the 1700s.

It was to install Professor Peter Romary (pictured right) as a pro-tem judge in North Carolina. He was visiting Nottingham Trent University with students and asked if he could take his Oath of Office in the East Midlands so his UK-based parents could attend.  Nottingham has hosted a solemn ceremony that has not been held in Britain since the 1700s.

Lawyer and academic Professor Peter Romary was sworn in as a North Carolina judge – the first time an American judge has taken his oath on this side of the Atlantic since the 18th century, when his home state was one of Britain’s colonies. The ceremony took place at Nottingham Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University, as it welcomed the first US students on to its LLM (Master of Laws) Legal Practice distance learning course.

He has been appointed to serve as a “pro-tempore” judge, and will sit in North Carolina when the state judiciary has a heavy workload of civil claims for or against the state. He received special permission to have the swearing-in held in Nottingham as part of the visit, enabling his British parents to attend.

Students and staff watched as American judge Jeff Foster presided and Prof Romary, 47, took the oath. The bible was held by his mother Joy. Looking on was the professor’s father John, a retired solicitor and district judge.

Prof Romary lives in North Carolina with his wife Marcy. Their daughter Elizabeth is working in Namibia with the American volunteer agency The Peace Corps. He is best known for his pro-bono work on behalf of victims of domestic violence and other violent crime. As a young lawyer he secured from a jury what was then a world record wrongful death verdict of $525 million.

He lectures internationally and hailed the Campbell and Nottingham law school link on a course he said would help the cause of lawyers being able to practice in more than one country.





The Scholarship goes on providing opportunities for local young people to make their own journey to transform their career, aspirations and self-confidence – on an unbroken path now trodden by over 150 scholars over 68 years.  In each newsletter we will bring you a story, pictures or memories from passed scholars.

ALUMNI – J R Adams (1949)

In 1953 Ray wrote:

Whenever my acquaintances learn that I have spent some time in the USA I can expect a barrage of questions. This interest in the USA shown by the majority of British people in sponsored by many emotions: curiosity, admiration, antagonism, etc. During the inevitable discussion which follows it remarkable how many views are expressed which, in my experience, are incorrect. Naturally, in the circumstances, I try to tell them what I consider is the truth. If I can succeed then it is just one more way in which the Roosevelt Scholarships are helping to create understanding and friendship between America and Great Britain. Of course, lectures, articles and discussions are all important ways of helping to create this international goodwill.

To an insular people like ourselves it is most desirable that as many people as possible visit other nations. The Scholarships provide a first class opportunity to visit one of the most interesting countries in the world. A Scholarship holder becomes an ambassador of Great Britain and in particular Nottinghamshire in America and of the USA on returning home. The interchange of views, experiences and ideas is essential to maintain and increase the important friendship of the two nations.

Nottinghamshire’s unique contribution of Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarships are, in my experience, acclaimed by all Americans who hear of the scheme. They consider the Scholarships a generous gesture of a far-sighted community and one which would bring tangible rewards to individuals and organisations, in addition to helping increased friendship between the two countries.

It is now four years since my own four months stay in the USA and though it is difficult to assess even the more tangible benefits I feel confident that my experiences there have contributed much to my work. To these benefits may be added others such as broadening of the mind to appreciate other points of view, an increased sense of responsibility to the local community and the opportunities of making Nottingham, the County and its products more widely known in the States. Surely a worthy object these days when exports to North America are very desirable.

When chosen as a Scholar, JR Adams worked for Ericsson Telephones. He presented an illuminated Address to General Eisenhower in commemoration of his visit to Nottingham. A Photostat of the completed address may be seen at the Council House.




ALUMNI: John Blackwell 1963 Scholar – A Roosevelts Scholars account of the JFK assassination

Reading the latest newsletter revives many memories for me, and the feelings expressed by the two latest scholars on their return, are so similar to my own 54 years ago.

It was remarked that I was a different person on my return, more confident and certainly very prepared to meet and listen to advice from people around me.

As I write this letter, the day after Mr Trump is appointed President of the USA, brings back the memory of the assassination of JFK in Dallas. I was staying on a tobacco farm in Virginia and as I was waiting for a bus into the local town at the end of the driveway to the house, which looked like something out of “Gone with the Wind”, the black servant Arthur came running down the drive shouting” Master John they have shot the president”. The whole atmosphere changed over next few days, I was able to visit Arlington cemetery to view JFKs grave a few days later. I have many wonderful memories of my 4 months in the USA, but this event will always be the one remembered. L was very fortunate , as I made my way around the USA looking at industrial product design for obsolescence. Just like today’s scholars, l was given the warmest of welcomes by American families. From my arrival in New York on the Queen Mary along with my two fellow scholars Peter (from Boots) and Jane (a teacher) to the day of my departure four months later I spent many pleasant hours with American families.

Starting my journey by staying with a family in New Jersey whilst visiting Bell Telephones a must as l worked for Ericsson Telephones Ltd in Beeston. My journey took me to Philadelphia to visit the Jacquard Co. and then returning to New York to start my journey by Greyhound bus (note the cost 99 dollars for 99 days). I travelled via Boston, Rochester, Niagara, (into Canada to visit Ericson’s factory in Toronto) then on to Detroit, Chicago, Kansas, Oklahoma, Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles (a few days break in Las Vegas & Mexico City) before arriving back in Dallas just one week before JFKs assassination. Then on through the southern states, to New Orleans, then to Virginia and the tobacco farm, onto Washington DC the day after JFKs funeral, finally back to New York and my flight home to my wife and young daughter.

Not only did I get a lot of information and experiences of industrial design from major industry and colleges of Art & Design, but a tremendous amount of what life is all about from the wonderful people I met on my travels.

The Roosevelt Scholarship is something I have been proud to have been part of all my life – now being 80 in a few months it is wonderful to relive my memories whilst reading those of todays scholars. May the Scholarships go on for many more years.

Best wishes to all future Scholars

John Blackwell 1963 Scholar




ALUMNI – Keith Taylor 1959  – What the Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Scholarship has meant to me

The Post Office Telegram dated 15 April 1959 said:


I could not believe my good fortune in being one of three scholars chosen to visit America for four months in the Autumn of that year. The scholarship was established to promote goodwill and understanding between the citizens of Nottingham and the people of the USA. I was 27. Nearly 60 years later I look back with profound gratitude to the Trustees and my employer at that time, Raleigh Industries, for what was a landmark event in my life and one which I will never forget.

Undoubtedly, the greatest privilege and pleasure of the scholarship was staying as a private guest with Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt at her home, Val-kill Cottage, Hyde Park both on arrival and before departure. She was intently interested in our plans and our experiences. She was undoubted one of the greatest women of our time and lived by her philosophy: ‘the most important thing in any relationship is not what you can get but what you can give.’

The sheer size of America, 3000 miles coast to coast, and its immense physical and ethnic diversity create a sense of constant wonderment. As a blueprint for my travels, I had used the American bicycle manufacturing industry and this brought me into contact with numerous people, families, entrepreneurs, professionals and even the military. However, there were numerous unplanned and unexpected occasions as diverse as sitting next to Admiral Rickover of Polaris submarine fame at a US Naval Officer’s dining in night; meeting Richard Burton during a break in filming in Hollywood; descending the Grand Canyon by mule and numerous others. Overriding all was the welcoming friendliness and generosity of everyone I met.

With hindsight, I can say that this remarkable scholarship provided a foundation on which to build my life but with a new perspective of the unlimited potential to learn from and listen to the diverse people who inhabit this wonderful world.