Ulster University Social Work Graduate awarded BEM

Ulster University alumna Frances Hannaway has been awarded a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the community in Northern Ireland.


Frances graduated from the Magee campus with a BSc (Hons) Social Work, with first class honours in July 2017. Prior to this, she gained a BSc (Hons) Social Policy from the Jordanstown campus, and while studying for her Social Work degree, she took part in Ulster University’s MY LACES (Mentoring Young Looked After Children with Educational Support) programme.


The BME nomination submitted for Frances was based on her time and commitment shown to the MY LACES programme and other volunteering work in the local community. The MY LACES programme aimed to address early intervention from Primary 5 to Primary 7 school children, to assist them with the transition to post-primary school, as well as improving the attainment, confidence and social skills of Looked after Children through an active experience of campus life. Over a three-year period, Frances dedicated each Wednesday afternoon to providing the Looked After children with additional educational support at the Magee campus.


Her dedication to helping the pupils on the MY LACES programme was second to none, and this hard work and enthusiasm didn’t go unnoticed as a local Trust offered her a job on graduation. She also took part in Ulster University’s Fostering Summer Schools, over the three years, to inspire and enthuse post-primary children in care to focus on their education and to continue with their education beyond school.


Frances Hannaway, recipient of a BEM in the Queen’s birthday honours, said:

“A very special thanks to Phil Turbitt for nominating me for a British Empire Medal and I am very grateful to have even been considered for this award.

It has been a pleasure to be part of the MYLACE’s programme, and the volunteering opportunities made available by the social work department have been challenging yet hugely rewarding, and they have contributed positively to my career development as a social work practitioner.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to all the staff and my peers at Ulster University for their support during my studies.”

Philip Turbitt, Outreach Officer with the Centre for Flexible Education, who nominated Frances for the Queen’s Birthday Honours, explains:

“Frances has a great work ethic and dedication to helping others. She gave up so much of her free time for the MY LACES programme and for her continued volunteering.

She is an outstanding exemplar of how Ulster University students are helping those in disadvantaged or marginalised situations to achieve their full potential, and she is an alumna that the University can be justifiably proud of.”

Frances was also Joint Chairperson of Ulster’s Stand Up for Social Work Society where she actively volunteered and raised money for charities such as VOYPIC, with the Stand Up for Social Work society winning a Gold Stamp Award at the Student Excellence Awards. She also was involved in making Christmas hampers, in partnership with the Churches Trust, to distribute to those most at need within society, which won the Best Charitable Initiative 2017.