De Montfort University obtained another award this week, as the Square Mile project won a Guardian University Award for its contribution to the local community.

The Square Mile project, brainchild of Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard, employs a network of student volunteers and academic boffins to run projects that have a positive effect on the communities of Leicester.

At the prestigious award ceremony in London on Wednesday 26, the judges presented DMU Square Mile with the ‘Community Contribution’ award for its work with The Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign.

Professor Shellard said: “Students and staff at DMU come to make a difference. DMU Square Mile exemplifies this. I couldn’t be more proud of our selfless volunteers who have worked so hard with the Rik Basra campaign to recruit so many more stem cell donors.”

The joint venture between the Anthony Nolan Trust, The Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign and Mile2 enjoyed a record-breaking year encouraging over 1,745 people to sign up to the UK stem cell register with the ‘Give a Spit’ campaign.

Celebrities from sport and music showed their support such as Leicester’s own Gary Lineker and Kasabian, Leicester County Cricket Club, Leicester Tigers, US alternative rock band The Fun Lovin’ Criminals and The Specials all gave their support to the stem cell project, breaking the record for the single largest recruitment drive held by a UK university.

Square Mile Manager, Mark Charlton said: “The Stem Cell project is a fantastic collaboration with the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign. I can’t put into words how delighted we are to receive this award, so instead we intend to show our pride through action, and continue to make an impact wherever we are able.”

Mile2 was also shortlisted in the same category for another project, the Homework Club. Over 200 DMU students provide one-to-one teaching and mentor support for pupils studying core subjects such as Maths, English and Science in 17 Leicester schools.

Professor Shellard continued: “This award, and our other shortlisted entry, is a testament to DMU’s dedication to ensuring higher education is fundamental to bringing about a positive change for the public good.”

The annual awards ceremony held by The Guardian newspaper sees all 109 of the UK’s universities battle for 15 prestigious awards. Last year DMU’s Square Mile was a runner up in the same community contribution category.