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Annual Report


Statements 2 Introducing the VPs 3 Strategic Plan 4 Strategic Plan


Societies Sports

6 7

The Boat Race


Student Advice Centre

9 10 11

Coopers & Purple The Summer Ball

Financial Overview 12 Financial Overview 13 Essentials & Job Shop 14 Other Achievements 15


UMSA is recognised as a model of best practice in providing representation, activities and services to students of multiple institutions and surpasses the expectations of its members and stakeholders by contributing to a vibrant and fulfilling student experience.


The Association is integral to the Universities at Medway project in representing the needs and views of its members whilst providing excellent activities and services. The Association achieves its goals by unifying the students of the Universities of Kent, Greenwich, Canterbury Christ Church and Mid Kent College.

For You, Not For Profit

This report – the first we have produced since UMSA was formed in 2005 – outlines the successes we have had in the last year and how they have improved the quality of the student experience for students in Medway. This year has been an important year for the Association in achieving its vision of being recognised as a model of best practice for partnership in Higher Education. The Association was the national winner of NUS Services’ Best Bar None award, received the bronze standard in the Sound Impact Awards and was accredited with Investor’s in People Status. These awards demonstrate the hard work that has gone into establishing systems that support the provision of activities and services and have been achieved earlier than expected. 2007/08 saw a huge expansion in both the number of sports teams and societies and the number of members of those groups. We now have over 1000 students participating in these activities, representing nearly a fifth of all students studying at the campus. In addition, the Universities at Medway boat race held its second event on the river Medway in May and achieved a huge turnout of spectators to see the Kent men and the Greenwich women triumph. In addition to our success in activities the Association also took strides to establish itself further as the driver of an ever-better student experience. The Association established a formal agreement with its three funders – the Universities of Greenwich, Kent and Canterbury Christ Church – to ensure their continued commitment and the Association was accepted as a member of the UK’s elite University Sport body, British Universities and Colleges Sport. This year we have achieved a lot, but we still have work to do to ensure that every Medway student feels the impact that UMSA is making in achieving its vision of contributing to a vibrant and fulfilling student experience. Cai Robbins VP Kent

Wil Corkrey VP Canterbury Christ Church

Altaf Ismail VP Greenwich

3 Introducing the VPs

Being a not for profit organisation means that every penny spent in our outlets is reinvested into services for students. By running successful bars and shops we are able to invest more in societies, sports teams, media and the Advice Centre as well as running more effective campaigns; enabling our members to have the best possible experience at the Universities at Medway campus.


007/08 was a fantastic year for the Association with successes covering all areas of our mission – from dramatically expanding our student activities to winning national awards and investing in our student services.

Strategic Plan 2008 - 2011


uring 2008 the Association has been setting its agenda for the next three years by writing its first strategic plan. The plan is split into two sections – strategic enablers and strategic themes – and spells out what the Association will do over the next three years and how those things will be supported and sustained. The Association has been consulting with its funders and partners as to what direction it should take. This process has demonstrated the value that a strong, student led organisation can play in developing universities and has been captured in the targets of the plan. The Association has committed to reviewing its strategic objectives every year for the life of the plan and will continue to work with its stakeholders to review its objectives. If you would like to see the strategic papers in full they can be downloaded via the website at:

The Plan Includes Enabler 1 – Governance and Management New formal structures Improved communication New consultation arrangements Sabbatical responsibilities Enabler 2 – Stakeholders Stakeholder map Formal mechanisms Strategic relationships Measuring success Enabler 3 – Staff Recruitment, selection and induction Communication, performance management and HR priorities Training, learning and development Reward and retention

Theme 1 – Credible and Effective Representation Supporting representation Representing views to Universities Representing views to the community Course reps development

Theme 3 – Competitive Commercial Services Catering strategy Bars and entertainments strategy Retail strategy Financial targets New outlets and services

Theme 2 – Diverse Student Activities Developing competitive sport Supporting societies Opportunities for all Student media Improving fundraising

Theme 4 – Social, Ethical and Environmental Responsibility Environmental practices Social and ethical Issues Equality of opportunity Health and safety



Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan



007/08 has been a very impressive year for the development of student societies. The number of societies has grown from 9 to 14 during the year with significant gains in the number of members for each group. The Association recognises that student societies play a vital role in the vibrancy of the campus and will continue to support their expansion into 2008/09.

007/08 proved to be an important year for the continued growth of competitive sport in Medway. After two years of lobbying, the Association has been granted membership of British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS). The national organisation had previously expressed concerns at Medway’s membership due to our students competing for ‘The Universities at Medway’ rather than the three Universities individually. However, with support from other universities and colleges in the South of England, the Association will compete in BUCS competitions in most sports in 2008/09.


Societies also play an important role in the Association’s strategic development because of the broad reach these groups have. The Association has committed to broadening its appeal to students who live locally, students with dependants and International students and the Association recognises that societies have a track record in promoting diversity. The following societies were registered with the Association during 2007/08. More information about each society can be gained from the Association’s website at


Afro-Caribbean Society Asian Society Christian Faith Academy Christian Union Dance Society Environmental Society Islamic Society LINKS - St John Ambulance Maritime Games Medway Law Group Medway Pharmaceutical SA Music Society Nutrition Society RAG

In terms of team success, the Association picked up multiple awards in South of England Students’ Sport Association (SESSA) competitions. The men’s football 3rd team won the league and cup double, with the men’s 4th team also winning their league. The men’s rugby team showed substantial improvement on their previous year and finished runners up in their league and cup. Our netball squad had a very good year, despite issues with their training facilities and match venues, narrowly missing out on winning their league, but are well placed to do well in their new BUCS division. The Association continued to grow the number of sports teams and also increased the overall number of students registered to play competitively. The following teams competed for the Universities at Medway last year and more information about them can be found at the Association’s website • • • • •

Football (x4) Ladies Football Rowing (men’s and women’s) Basketball (men’s) Mixed Hockey

• • • •

Netball Rugby (men’s) Badminton (mixed) Athletics (mixed)

7 Sports


• • • • • • • • • • • • • •


The Boat Race

Student Advice Centre



The crews were trained by the Medway Towns Rowing club and had the use of their facilities in Rochester as well as a rowing tank in Gravesend. The finishing times were a marked improvement on 2006/07 despite the fact that more than ¾ of the participants had not rowed before they came to University.

The Centre is planning to develop a pro-active advice plan during 2008/09 to ensure that as many students as possible are aware of the Advice Centre. This includes advertising the service to targeted groups of students and making university staff aware of the services offered through information sessions. The work undertaken by the Advice Centre can be complex and students often return more than once before their query is resolved.

n May 2008 the Association hosted its second annual Universities at Medway Boat Race. The spectator event was held on Rochester Esplanade with the crews starting at Cuxton and racing under the M2 motorway bridge down to the finish line at Esplanade. Honours were split between the Universities of Kent and Greenwich, with Kent winning the men’s race and Greenwich winning the women’s.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Canterbury Christ Church’s women’s crew were not able to compete in this year’s competition. However, the Association is committed to making this a signature event all the Universities at Medway calendar and is confident that all three Universities will be represented in the 2009 race and beyond. The races were kindly sponsored by the Chatham Maritime Trust and the Rochester Bridge Trust.


he advice centre achieved an excellent range of successes for students during 2007/08 and has received a much needed funding boost to increase the number of advice hours for 2008 onwards.

During the year, the Association’s Student Adviser gave advice to 294 new students on a wide range of issues, in addition to the advice and assistance given to existing clients.

The graph below shows the proportion of work the Advice centre deals with. Finance related issues continue to dominate the casework load, backed up by high numbers of students seeking advice about elements of their programme of study. Immigration Housing Academic Issues Finance Issues Other

Significant achievements include: Supporting multiple students to successfully challenge their degree classification Negotiating with creditors on behalf of a student and helping set up a realistic repayment plan. Persuade an education authority to reconsider and change the status of a student which enabled them to continue at university when they would have dropped out. Assisting multiple students with academic appeals and supporting them by attending appeal hearings

Student Advice Centre

The Boat Race

• • • •


Coopers & Purple

The Summer Ball

007/08 was a challenging year for the licensed trade sector and the Association’s licensed trade outlets saw a slowing in the volume of wet sales. Despite this, Coopers and Purple managed to beat like for like sales on 2006/07 and the outlets continue to act as the heartbeat of entertainment on the campus.

he Association’s Summer Ball in May 2008 was the second held by the Association and the best attended event the Association has held. The event was headlined by BBC Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson and supported by local bands and student DJ’s. Additional attractions included two bars, surf simulator, laser tag, chocolate fountain, professional photographer and poker games.


In December 2007 the Association entered NUS Services’ Beat Bar None awards, which accredits safety and social responsibility in licensed trade outlets. The award is sponsored by Diageo, Coca Cola and Bacardi and is supported by Greater Manchester Police. The Association’s intention was to get the standard accreditation for Coopers. However, to the Association’s surprise Coopers won the regional and national prize, beating all other students’ union bars in the UK.


In order for the licensed trade venues to remain competitive and the Association invested approximately 16k in brightening up Coopers and making the venue more attractive for a wider range of activities. This included significantly changing the lighting system, building a stage on the north side of the building, increasing the soft furnishings to make the venuw more comfortable and installing free-to-play Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 consoles.


Other changes during 2007/08 means that Coopers now offers food all day, 7 days a week. The Association recognises that catering is a growing element of the licensed trade sector and had committed to growing this element of business beyond alcohol sales over the next three years.

The event was also the first Summer Ball that has made a financial contribution. The Summer Ball contributed two thousand pounds to the Association and provides a platform to hold more events in that space.

11 The Summer Ball

Coopers & Purple

It is hoped that the internal changes to the space, coupled with a focus on providing a full entertainments programme in 2008/09 will enable the outlets to consolidate their position as the best place for Medway students to socialise and have fun.

Financial Overview

Income 2007/2008


University of Greenwich University of Kent Canterbury Christ Church University Ring Fenced Grants Essentials Coopers & Purple

he Association is primarily funded by the 3 Universities that make up the Universities at Medway. In addition, the Association generates income from its bars, shop and advertising revenues to put back into supporting the other work of the Association.

The Association’s finance function is supported by one member of staff, with oversight from Kent Union. The Association achieved a strong financial performance in 2007/08. The Association beat budget by £1,374; this is the second time in three years that this has been achieved.

Other Income

The Association’s trading outlets contributed a net deficit for the year with mixed results between retail and licensed trade. In response to this the Association has committed that by 2009/10 the Association’s trading outlets will consistently contribute a net surplus via increased sales and better use of space in the Jellicoe building. The Association’s commercial net deficit was offset by strong cost control within central areas. The quick production of management information enabled the Association to react and reduce spending in central areas. This control, coupled by the saving of salary costs caused by a staff member leaving during the middle of the year countered the other deficits to produce the surplus. Note: During 2007/08 it was agreed that the Association would pay a rental change to the University of Greenwich for use of the Jellicoe building. Due to this the Association’s block grant is higher than budgeted, with central costs bearing the change in the accounts.




% change

Gross Turnover* Commercial Turnover Universities Grants* Membership Services Exp. Surplus for the year

532,511 339,657 187,466 64,595 (1,618)

617,489 394,220 221,984 70,087 1,569

16% 16% 18% 9%

*minus rent costs

Human Resources Student Activities Advice Services Democracy and Campaigns Publicity and Marketing Central Costs Pilkington Reception Rent

13 Financial Overview

Financial Overview

Year Ending 31st July

Expenditure 2007/2008

Essentials & Jobshop


his year has seen a strong performance from the Association’s shop – Essentials- with sales outstripping budgeted sales by 14%. Overall this meant that retail beat budget by two thousand pounds for the year.

The Association took over the management of the old campus shop in the Pembroke Building in August 2006 and moved it to its present location in the Jellicoe building in January 2007. However, it was expected that it would take three years for the new store to contribute a net trading surplus. The Association is pleased to report that for 2007/08 the store achieved this and is budgeted to make a bigger contribution to the Association in 2008/09. Essentials stocks an extensive range of convenience goods as well as other student necessities and is open from 8am till 8pm during term time.


he Association has operated a jobshop in the Pilkington building for the past 18 months. The jobshop service is supported by the Pilkington reception and via the jobshop website.

The jobs advertised via the jobshop are sourced by the jobshop staff from Kent Union based in Canterbury. At present, the Association doesn’t hold any statistics relating to the number of students signed up to jobshop or the success rate of finding jobs for students. However, the Association is planning to capture this information in 2008/09 and provide an action plan for how the service should develop.

Other Achievements


n July 2008 the Association was accredited with Investors in People status in recognition of its staff communication, training and development programmes. Investors in People status was a strategic goal of the Association as identified in the Association’s strategic theme relating to staff. To help ensure that the Association maintains its status as a good employer the plan states that the Association will seek reaccreditation every two years.


uring 2007/08 the Association produced a strategic plan covering its social, ethical and environmental responsibility. This plan covers the next three years and covers all areas of the Association’s work. As a way of measuring the Association’s progress in this area, the Association entered NUS services’ Sound Impact Awards in December 2007 and was accredited with the bronze award. Over the course of next year the Association will seek to strengthen its social, ethical and environmental responsibility by further engaging its stakeholders and considering the impacts of its work. This includes leading the Universities at Medway‘s bid for Fairtrade University status and sourcing more local suppliers and healthier options in or trading outlets.



Essentials & Job Shop

Other Achievements


Universities at Medway Students’ Association Pilkington Building North Road Chatham Maritime Kent ME4 4JB Tel: 01634 888989 E-mail: Web:

UMSA Annual Report 2008