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Coventry University students take the law into the community to inspire and educate young people

Law students at Coventry University have joined forces with a community charity to raise young people’s awareness of the laws around knife crime and other subjects.

Streetlaw is a new project at Coventry University’s Faculty of Business and Law which sees students engage with the community to increase their understanding of the laws surrounding different topics.

The benefits are two-fold – law students are given the opportunity to research a legal topic and present this information to an audience, while community groups get a better understanding of the topic and how it might relate to them.

Coventry University has linked up with Positive Youth Foundation for the project and seven law students recently held their first session with the charity’s Girls Group to discuss knife crime at Hillfields Young People’s Centre.

Positive Youth Foundation is dedicated to providing support to eight to-25-year-olds in Coventry to raise aspirations and life outcomes.

Second year law student, Agnieszka Zegarlinska, said: “It was a really good experience and definitely something I’d do again, I certainly think it’s helped with our teamwork and presentation skills.

“Knife crime is a problem so it is important to help pass on our legal knowledge to people. The group really engaged with the session.”

Rebecca Gladwin-Geoghegan, Associate Head of School at Coventry Law School at Coventry University, who is leading on the Streetlaw project, said: “The session went really well, and it was great to take our students outside of a university environment.

“This project benefits them by getting them to research an area of law they may not have been familiar with and to share this newfound knowledge with the community in an engaging and accessible manner. Ultimately for those young people taking part, the sessions will hopefully help them to make informed and educated decisions.

“It also has another role in inspiring young people to take a greater interest in the law and potentially to consider a career in law. I do think there can be a perception about the kind of backgrounds lawyers come from, but sessions like this aim to make the law more accessible to everyone.”

Second year law student Lissa Dobson, added: “This project is well organised and I’m so pleased that I was able to take part. Rebecca guided us right through the process, thinking about the subject, doing the research, and considering of the kind of questions people could ask. I’ve volunteered at the Positive Youth Foundation before, so I was aware of the organisation, but had we not had Rebecca helping us and offering reassurance, I think I would have found it a bit more nerve-wracking.

“I think anyone who has the opportunity to take part in the Streetlaw project should certainly do it, I’m hoping there will be more sessions in the future.”

Coventry University and Positive Youth Foundation are exploring further workshops on other legal areas.

About Coventry University 

Coventry University is a global, modern university with a mission of Creating Better Futures. We were founded by entrepreneurs and industrialists in 1843 as the Coventry School of Design and we continue to have strong links with the public and private sector, providing job-ready graduates with the skills and creative thinking to improve their communities. 

With a proud tradition of innovative teaching and learning, Coventry University has world-class campus facilities, the UK’s first standalone 5G network and a digital community of learning. Our students are part of a global network that has 50,000 learners studying Coventry University degrees in more than 40 different countries and partnerships with 150 higher education providers worldwide.  

We have greatly increased our research capacity and capability with a focus on impactful research, delivered for and with partners to address real-world challenges and support business and communities to grow. The depth and breadth of rapidly growing research portfolio was validated by the latest UK research assessment, which saw us jump 22 places in the research power rankings. 

Over two centuries, we have flourished in Coventry and Coventry University Group now also delivers access to our range of high-quality services and partnerships through bases in London, Scarborough, Belgium, Poland, Egypt, Dubai, Singapore and Africa. From September 2023, we will be teaching students at a new campus in China in a joint venture with Communication University of China. 

In April 2022, we were honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of International Trade, the UK’s most prestigious business award. In recent years, we have won many awards and vastly improved our rankings in the league tables that matter to students – but what matters to us is delivering transformational change for our students, partners and communities around the world as we continue to evolve into a global education group. 

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