Presented by: Steve Collett, Honorary Fellow
Honourable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Steve Hawkins for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University. I’m particularly proud to introduce Steve’s many achievements to you because I have known him personally for a number of years, been aware of his phenomenal record of commitment and achievement in Merseyside over many years and also because at slightly different times we worked for the same Liverpool based homelessness charity.
Steve is a proud scouser, deeply loyal to his City, who after an Anfield childhood, sojourned in sunny Huyton before returning to live within the City boundaries. He and Paula his wife have raised their three children in the City and Isobel, George and Emily are deeply proud of their father’s achievements as Steve and Paula are of theirs - in fact Isobel followed in her dad’s footsteps yesterday by graduating with a politics degree whilst both George and Emily are developing their careers within the voluntary sector like their father has.
Steve’s commitment to Liverpool and the region is reflected in his work for the Merseyside charity Local Solutions for over three decades; ten of those years have been as Chief Executive.
Local Solutions started life as the Merseyside Council for Voluntary Service in 1974, but latterly became known as Local Solutions in 2000 refocusing its efforts on initiating a range of programmes to combat poverty and provide opportunities for people to improve the quality of their lives. That continues to be the primary aim still today, and the charity has played a fundamental role in improving the lives for many thousands of disadvantaged people across Liverpool and the North West.
The Guardian has called it a "hugely impressive" charity where "frugal innovation runs through its veins", where "small changes, employing familiar ingredients, costing comparatively little, can make a big difference in surprising ways." An example of this "frugal innovation" being it’s call for hotels to offer a room for the night and breakfast for carers who experience stress, social isolation and mental health problems as a result of looking after a relative with little respite.
The charity also runs other innovative programmes tackling bullying and domestic violence, offering training to the unemployed, providing a debt advice service, as well as running a hostel for young homeless and its water sports centre for the disabled and the homeless.
A graduate of the University of Lancaster, where he studied Politics and International Relations, Steve has spent all of his professional life working tirelessly in the voluntary sector and the NHS. His career began as a volunteer supporting homeless people in the night shelter in Liverpool Metropolitan’s Cathedral Crypt. In a parallel career, Steve has served as a Non-Executive Director in the NHS, including eight years as Chairman of Merseycare NHS Trust. He has also served as a Trustee on a number of charities, most recently as a Trustee of The Reader Organisation.
Steve has helped build an organisation which brings hope and encouragement to many people who need it most; unemployed young people, the homeless, the disabled, families struggling to get by. Steve and his team give opportunities to people who may not have had the chances like we do and for that his hard work is worthy of the utmost recognition.
Thus, it is with great pleasure that I present Steve Hawkins for admission to our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.