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Campus Celebrity – Ellie Clark

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Manchester chapter.

Our Celebrity this week is Ellie Clark, a 19-year-old second year studying English Literature at the UoM. From, and I quote, the “tiny little village of Scawby” in North Lincolnshire, we hear what she has to say about working for the Tutor Trust and at the Catholic Chaplaincy on Oxford Road!

So Ellie, tell us a little bit about yourself!

The key thing anyone needs to know about me is that at some point I will turn into a mini-mum; my housemates call me ‘Ellie-mummy’. I routinely sort out the house bills, cooking and cleaning. I try hard not to but it’s in my nature. I love my life! I’m at a cool University in a really cool city, I have amazing friends and a beautiful family! I study English Literature, which is great as it feeds my love of analysing the tiniest little details of life and I am hyper organised – I have also been offered a place on a graduate programme called Teach First for September 2015.

You tutor with a charity called The Tutor Trust, what’s that all about and why do you do it?

The Tutor Trust is an education-based charity that works on the basis that no child should be left behind. We tutors go into schools across Manchester and deliver tuition in English, Science and Maths to school pupils who need a bit of extra help. I work primarily with secondary school pupils who are ‘on the borderline’, meaning they need an extra push to achieve their C in GCSE English. I tutor because I love education. I feel really strongly that a good education is the key to life and has the potential to lead people anywhere they want to go. To have the opportunity to aid that process is fantastic and is also great practice for my desired career – teaching.

Best experience whilst working with them?

Tutoring, generally, is really rewarding but I’d have to say the best moment I ever had was when I was asked to work in a Pupil Referral Unit with a boy who had been scouted by Blackburn Rovers. He saw no point in achieving his GCSE’s as he’d already had his place secured, so my job became more about re-engaging him with English and explaining to him why it isn’t that bad after all. I made him read This Be the Verse by Philip Larkin: its opening lines are “They F*** you up your Mum and Dad”. My pupil couldn’t stop laughing and from then on fell in love with poetry and began to come up with some of the most profound, beautiful readings of poetry I have ever heard.

And you work at the Catholic Chaplaincy as well, what’s that like?

Yes! I’m on the student committee, I’m the Liturgy coordinator for the Chaplaincy. I help sort out the intricacies of the Service’s such as the readers and welcomers. It is a great place to be and, for me, feels like a home away from home. It has been a massive source of strength for me, it’s allowed me to channel my love of organising and, given me so many great friends and hilarious stories. I live with two friends from the Chaplaincy and have even started to learn how to crochet! Sometimes it’s been difficult working with lots of different students from different backgrounds but, it’s taught me to be much more patient and tolerant.

Very often the common conception of a Catholic Chaplaincy is that it’s full of very unworldly and pious people. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Everyone who goes to Chaplaincy, whilst being united by their faith, lives in the world just as much as the next person. We love to socialise together and routinely spend evenings in The Oxford chatting away. The Chaplaincy is a buzzing environment for lots of people and a great place to make lots of like-minded friends. We often have high profile speakers coming to speak to us; last year the MP Andy Burnham came to speak to us about how he manages his faith and his politics. Next year the plan is to have the Catholic comedian Frank Skinner come to speak to us as well and the other week we had Paul Vallely -former associate editor of the Independent- come and talk to us about his latest book on Pope Francis. The Chaplaincy has a huge international base. Many of our students come from very far away so it does give you a large taste of what it’s really like to live in the real world! The other day I was sat at a table with people from Syria, Nigeria, India and Borneo (Indonesia) which I always find really cool. We also do a lot of charity work. We have a group called the SVP who’ve started a breakfast club in a local primary school, organise homeless soup runs in the city centre and regularly visit care homes to keep some of the residents company. On the 24th of November the Radio 4 programme Sunday Worship was broadcast from the Chaplaincy Church and talked about the student population we serve – we have the biggest church in Manchester at our disposal and are here for all 80,000 students! I’d encourage anyone that’s interested to pop in whenever they can – it’s directly opposite the SU.


Is it easy to come to a service? When is the next one?

It’s dead easy to come to a service! The services are split between the Chapel (which is in the Chaplaincy building) and the Church which is the massive gothic structure next to the Stopford building and opposite the SU. They’re on every week day at 1.05pm in the Church and 6pm in the Chapel, 11am on a Saturday and 9.15am (in the Chapel), 12pm and 7pm on a Sunday. You don’t have to do anything special just come in, sit down, and listen. The church is a stunning building and it’s so easy to have your breath taken away by the decoration and architecture. 

What do you do in your free time?

I love to cook, I don’t get much time to do it but when I do there’s nothing better than making a big meal and sharing it with my friends and family. I am grade 7 flute and would love to say I play it all the time but the sad truth is that’s not the case. At the moment, I’m spending my spare time organising the Chaplaincy, planning my future travel excursions (I will be going to teach English in Thailand over the summer of 2014) and sitting on my bed watching rubbish films with my house mates. I’m also over the moon that I’m a Celebrity… Get me out of here has started again – it’s my not so secret shame haha!

Any tips for working in a charity or at a Church/Chaplaincy?

Smile and listen! It’s all I do. People appreciate the fact you respect them enough to hear what they have to say and that you’re selfless enough to give up your time for them and not grumble about it. I would also say being proactive is a really good thing too. If you ever feel like Church might be something you’d like to try there’s no harm in just giving it a go. Then you’ll know sooner rather than later whether it’s for you and it doesn’t become one of those things you wish you’d done.

What’s your favourite thing about Manchester? Where are we most likely to find you?

The best thing about Manchester is the music scene. I love living in a city where some of the greatest bands on this planet were formed (The Happy Mondays and Oasis to name a few!!!) I really love having the flexibility to see what I want when I want to see it. On a Friday or Saturday night, if I’ve not got loads of people over at my house and there’s no Chaplaincy social I will be in The Oxford…I love that place; it’s so cosy!

Any cheeky romance on the side?!

[She smiles] Potentially…