A short summary of your project
Wessex Scene would like to print a special edition ‘Poverty & Class’ magazine issue in the second semester of this academic year, using our platform to raise awareness of how issues like class divisions and poverty impact people on a local, national and international scale.
Who are you?
Wessex Scene is Southampton University's Student Online Newspaper and Published Magazine. Founded in 1936 before the University received its Royal Charter, it is officially older than the University itself.
The website, wessexscene.co.uk, is updated daily during term-time as well as during the holidays to provide students with news, features, analysis and opinion. The printed publication dates back to 1936 and now takes the form of a free monthly magazine, distributed around the University campuses.
Wessex Scene acts as both a platform and a representation of the interests of every single student here at the University. We have a high level of student and community engagement both online and in print, meaning that the resultant project would have a good level of outreach and a large audience. Adding to its potential scale and impact is the fact that this survey and investigation would come at a time where student poverty is back in the public eye. A recent investigation by money advice website Save the Student revealed that 1 in 25 students have turned to various forms of adult work in order to cope with rising living costs. The report shows that the number of students resorting to adult work has doubled since 2017, and that this trend has spread all over the country due to UK universities’ lack of financial support. Since 2017, tuition fees have risen from £9,000 per year to £9,250, whilst maintenance grants were scrapped in favour of maintenance loans ahead of the 2016/2017 academic year. Subsequently, an investigation on Southampton student poverty would not only be timely, but also give it the scale of awareness necessary to help make meaningful social change.
In order to discuss how poverty impacts the people of Southampton, we're planning on interviewing rough sleepers, people from Southampton City Council as well as local charities and food banks like No Limits, Two Saints, The Homeless Period, Southampton Action, Trinity Winchester, The Hygiene Bank, City Life Church and The Society of St James.
These interviews would form part of an in-depth feature exploring the levels of homelessness in Southampton and Winchester. There has been a steady rise in homelessness-related deaths in the past six years; reportedly 41 homeless people in Southampton have died during this six-year period as well as 15 in Winchester.
Furthermore, 57,890 households were assessed as homeless last year. Wessex Scene in previous years has investigated student attitudes to homelessness, been home to student opinion pieces on the matter and reported on how local organisations pose to tackle it. However, this would be our first holistic report focusing on homeless people themselves, as well as exploring how different organisations – both local and governmental – propose to solve the issue.
Another key feature of this magazine would be the planned investigation into how poverty and class impacts students in Southampton which, to our knowledge, is the first investigation of its kind focusing Southampton students specifically.
The goal of this investigation would be to uncover the extent of student poverty and class divisions at the University primarily through the means of an all-student survey. I would also converse with the Widening Participation department at the University, SUSU’s Advice Centre, the Welfare & Communities Sabbatical Officer, Enabling Services and Student Services – specifically the department that deals with bursaries and the Student Support Fund.
I have also been in talks with social mobility charity upReach since their investigation this summer about how the state/private school division impacts on students’ abilities to get work experience.
Where will the money go?
If we reach our target of £600, every penny will go into printing high-quality, FREE copies of the magazine which we could distribute around different campuses, helping us to further and broaden our outreach.
If we exceed our target, we will use it to fund future investigative projects which focus on bettering and changing the lives of Southampton students, the local community and wider society.
We will use Wessex Scene’s social media platforms – including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to ensure students are involved in every step of the project. More specifically, we will develop a hashtag for Twitter/Instagram and ensure the social media posts are interactive with a mixture of attractive graphics, pictures of the development of the mag in action, social videos and short clips/Instagram/Facebook stories where committee members will talk about what they’re doing to develop the mag (i.e.. If they’re visiting someone to interview etc).
As well as this, we also have a monthly Mailchimp newsletter that is available to both email subscribers and anyone who follows our social media, where we will also update readers on the progress of the project.
£10 – A shout-out on social media platforms and a named dedication in our magazine.
£25 – A shout-out on social media platforms, a named dedication in our magazine and a mailed copy of the magazine.
£50 – A shout-out on social media platforms, a named dedication in our magazine, a mailed copy of the magazine and a personalised thank-you card signed by committee members.
£100+ - A shout-out on social media platforms, a named dedication in our magazine, a mailed copy of the magazine, a personalised thank-you card signed by committee members and a bundle of Wessex Scene merchandise including a pen, fridge magnet and tote bag.
Find us here
Help us succeed!
- You don't need to give money to help us succeed! Please share this project with anyone you think would support us – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence or on your blog.
- In fact, share it with everyone you know as we think it's a great idea, and the more people who know about it, the more likely we are to make this work out brilliantly.
- And we know we said you don't need to give money to help us, but we'd love it if you did! Please sponsor us and help make this happen.