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

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