The Mary Seacole Awards

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The Mary Seacole Awards provide an opportunity for individuals to be recognised for their outstanding work in the black and minority ethnic (BME) community.

Mary Seacole, a Jamaican Scottish nurse and businesswoman, was a celebrated Victorian heroine due to her bravery in nursing soldiers in the Crimean War (1853–1856). The Mary Seacole Awards were created in her honour and provide the opportunity for individuals to undertake a specific health care project, educational or development activity that benefits and improves the health outcomes of people from BME communities.

The awards are funded by Health Education England and are awarded in association with Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Unison and Unite with support from NHS Employers.

Applications for 2017/2018 award year 

Applications for the 2017/2018 award year are now open. You can download an advert, application forms and FAQs for the 2017/2018 awards below. 

The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 5 May 2017

Please contact siobhan.smyth@rcn.org.uk for any queries relating to the application process or your eligibility. 

Pre-application workshops 2017

A number of informal events are being scheduled to give potential applicants an opportunity to talk through any questions, and find out more about the awards from a member of the steering group or a previous awardee. Please contact siobhan.smyth@rcn.org.uk to reserve your place:

  •  23 March 2017 at Unite the Union, 128 Theobald’s Road, Holborn, London
  •  28 March 2017 at RCN West Midlands Regional Office, Lyndon House, 58-62 Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B16 8PE

The 2016/2017 awardees were announced at a special awards ceremony on 27 October 2016

  • Ada Hui, research and teaching associate (mental Hhalth), at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham. Her project will address the lived experiences of BME patients within a high secure hospital in Nottingham and what this means for service provision in the future. 
  • Deborah Isaac, senior lecturer at University of Greenwich. Her project will explore the experiences of BME mental health nurses in an NHS trust in London.  It is hoped this project will help the organisation and the wider NHS to address ethnic minority development within the context of talent management. 
  • Philomene Umawaliya, senior lecturer mental health nursing at Liverpool Johns Moores University, School of Nursing and Allied Health. Her project will look to develop an interactive online resource hub to provide information and advice to asylum seekers and refugees.

These individuals were awarded the leadership award and will receive funding for their projects. Projects will report in October 2017.  

To see what previous award winners have to say about their projects and what winning the award meant to them, watch this short film from Royal College of Nursing. 



For more information on the research projects, please contact siobhan.smyth@rcn.org.uk 

Further information on Mary Seacole


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