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Dare to be a Daniel!

03 Feb 2020

Meet our Widening Participation champion, David Allison

David Allison promotes antibiotic awareness

For Dr David Allison, Widening Participation (WP) allows youngsters from any background to fulfil their potential and, as Tony Benn put it, “Dare to be a Daniel!”

Daniel was thrown to the lions after defying Darius the Meade’s edict to pray to no other god but him, and was saved by the God he remained loyal to – for David, WP gives youngsters the confidence and strength to be true to themselves.

And he should know, as the first member of his own family to go to university some 40 years ago.

David is our Academic Lead for WP at the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, and has been the Chair of the national Realising Opportunities WP programme and external moderator for the PARTNERS WP programme at Newcastle University.

Over the past 15 years he has and continues to run a number of impactful activities, including:

  • Pharmacy in Primary Schools (PIPS) programme now in its 12th year working with year six pupils;
  • Fastbleep Pharmacy, a follow-on to PIPS, working with many of the same pupils once they are at high school;
  • How Clean are Your Hands workshops with primary and high school pupils, exploring how many viral infections are spread by unclean hands which can lead to unnecessary antibiotic prescribing and associated resistance development;
  • Development and delivery of a core social responsibility (Service Learning) programme for undergraduate students, Healthcare in High Schools, in which third-year undergraduate students deliver healthcare awareness workshops to local high schools in disadvantaged areas of Manchester;
  • And the bespoke yet highly successful Pharmacy Foundation programme for young learners demonstrating academic potential from low participation backgrounds.

“The best aspects of this work are too numerous to mention,” he says.

 “It would certainly include collegiality with like-minded colleagues; superb support, passion and enthusiasm from committed student ambassadors and seeing the enjoyment on the faces of the young learners we work with.

“If the career path, life chances and aspirations are changed for one young learner by our involvement and intervention then in my view that spells success and is deeply and inherently rewarding.”

He adds: “As the first member of my family to go to university, I feel passionately that it is only right to give something back to society and encourage others, especially those learners who have academic potential but may come from educationally disadvantaged and deprived backgrounds a chance to experience the wonderful and life enhancing opportunities that higher education can offer.

“For me, it’s about opening doors, offering pathways to hope and highlighting a different way of life which has remained hidden and inaccessible; encouraging individuals that they must ‘believe to achieve’ and as Tony Benn would say, “Dare to be a Daniel”!”

And he urges colleagues to read our WP Report, which “demonstrates very clearly how committed the University is to change to a fair, considerate and transparent admissions process along with improving learning and success for all.”

Read the report

To read the report, visit:

Get involved

If you want to get involved in our rewarding widening participation work, or have any questions, please contact:

Or if you have your own widening participation story, share it with us at: