Philanthropist Helen McArdle CBE donates 'game-changing' £2.5million to University of Sunderland

Philanthropist and entrepreneur Helen McArdle CBE is donating £2.5million to the University of Sunderland - the largest contribution it has ever received.

Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 3:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 7:32 pm
Helen McArdle CBE with Sir David Bell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and chief executive.
Helen McArdle CBE with Sir David Bell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and chief executive.

The multi-million pound partnership will benefit teaching and research in nursing and care.

Through scholarships and student prizes, Ms McArdle’s donation will also support and celebrate trainee nurses at the Sunderland School of Nursing.

Helen McArdle CBE established her care home business, Helen McArdle Care in the 1980s.

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When she sold the business in 2017, it had 20 care homes and was the highest quality care provider in the UK.

In 2015, Helen was awarded a CBE for her services to the care home industry and the local community, receiving the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Social Care’ award at the Great North East Care Awards in 2016.

Helen McArdle said: “My whole life has been dedicated to making a difference, both in my care homes and nurseries.

“I am very impressed by the University of Sunderland’s ambition and its commitment to improving patient care.

“I know that my donation will make a difference and so I am delighted to be able to help the University further develop its plans for teaching and research.

“I will be keeping in regular touch with the team at the University and look forward to seeing some excellent progress and results.”

The University’s Shackleton House building will be re-named Helen McArdle House in recognition of the donation.

After a multimillion-pound transformation in 2017/18, the former 1990s office building is now used by the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing and hosts a state-of-the-art patient transfer suite.

This enables healthcare professionals of the future to have access to as close to a real-life experience as possible, within the safety of a training environment.

Also in the building are two mock hospital wards, assessment suites, an infection control isolation room and a mental health and wellbeing suite.

Sir David Bell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and chief executive said: “We are hugely indebted and grateful to Helen McArdle for her support.

“Helen’s donation is a game-changer for us and, potentially, life-changing for patients.

“It will allow us to establish PhD research studentships as well as scholarships and prizes to support and celebrate our student nurses.

“We are also very excited to be creating The Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute that help us drive forward research focused on achieving excellence in nursing and patient care.”

How the donation will benefit the university and its students

As a result of Helen McArdle CBE’s support, the University will establish the Helen McArdle PhD Studentship and The Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute.

Focusing on inter-professional research across nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals (NMAHP), The Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute will be based in Helen McArdle House and focus on relevant, high-quality research that will directly improve patient care.

The Helen McArdle Nursing Scholarship programme will provide financial support to five student nurses each year, who will have the chance to access scholarships through a £1.5million permanent endowment.

The scholarships are open to students most in need of financial support on the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice, BSc (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing Practice and BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing Practice programmes.

Students can apply for the scholarship at the point of application and, if successful, will receive a £1,200 bursary to support their living costs for each of their three years of study.

In addition to the scholarships, the £150 Helen McArdle Nursing Prize will be presented at the University’s summer and winter academic awards ceremonies.

The recipient will be the most outstanding nursing student, as chosen by the McArdle family in collaboration with staff in the Sunderland School of Nursing.

The first Helen McArdle Nursing prize will be presented to an outstanding graduating nurse at the university’s winter academic awards in November 2019.