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Fred Roche Travel and Study Award Winners

Meet the winners of The Fred Roche Travel Awards

Milton Keynes Community Foundation is excited to announce the three winners of the £500 Fred Roche Travel and Study Awards. The Fred Roche Foundation, The Parks Trust and an anonymous donor generously sponsor the awards to support local people who are studying horticulture, landscape design, architecture, urban design or arboriculture.

Helen Hepher and Vanessa Gurung are the winners of the Travel Award that is designed to broaden the subject knowledge through travel. Peter Lickorish is the Study Award winner that encourages the purchase of specific equipment to support training opportunities. 

Meet the winners!

Helen Hepher
Helen’s passion for urban design and the built environment first began from her interest in travel. She was lucky enough to study human geography and urban studies at the National University of Singapore as part of her degree at the University of Sheffield. During her time in Singapore, she was exposed to an urban model which was proactive and innovative around sustainability. She found the experience of seeing a city that had transformed in 50 years from a series of slums to one of the most developed cities in the world, truly inspirational. After completing her degree, she went on to complete a Masters in Urban Design and City Planning at UCL and is currently working at David Lock Associates working on projects that include; producing development frameworks, detailed masterplans, design guides, codes and preparing planning applications for both public and private sector clients.

Helen is keen to be part of the global conversation around urban sustainability and regularly attends events and forums around Urban Design and Planning. Helen intends to use her Award to attend and take part in the Urban Futures conference in Oslo boasting an exciting programme of workshops and lectures that will consider how cities can be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

 “I’m passionate about being part of a global conversation about urban sustainability and view platforms such as UFGC19 as crucial to tackling urban problems in a collective and creative way. I am keen to learn and contribute to discussions on programmes of best practice, different perspectives on what sustainability means and what constraints and opportunities urban practitioners face in their day to day work. My multi-dimensional perspectives as an urban designer, a planner, a young person, a woman and a city dweller gives me a variety of different viewpoints.”

Vanessa Gurung

Vanessa is currently studying for her A-Levels and has been offered a place to study Architecture at Newcastle University. She is particularly interested in the diversity of architecture in different cultures and how people use space differently. Vanessa intends to use the award to travel around Rome, learning more about both the functionality and aesthetics of Italian architecture.

Vanessa said:

“The integration of people and the environment is what makes architecture in different places so unique. Using this award to travel and to absorb completely new environments will hopefully make a big difference to how I currently view architecture, improving my knowledge for the better, therefore, this opportunity to learn through travelling is a chance I must take to further enhance my learning for my future.”

Having recently moved from London to Milton Keynes Vanessa has experienced first hand how architecture and built environment can have an effect on how people live their lives. She is very much looking forward to learning more about Italian culture and history through its buildings.

Vanessa believes this immersive approach will help her to look at and reflect upon her own personal culture and heritage as she starts her path towards becoming an architect.


Peter Lickorish

Peter is currently studying for his Masters of Horticulture and intends to use his award to conduct an experiment that will gather primary data around the area of Plant Acoustic Frequency Technology for his dissertation. For those of you who don’t know what this is - it is the role of sounds in stimulating responses in plants – especially to improve the success of propagation methods including grafting and seed germination.

Peter is currently a tutor and technician at Shuttleworth College and intends to involve students in the collection of data using specialist equipment.

Peter said:

“Completing the M-Hort award, to which the dissertation unit is integral, will enable me to further my career teaching horticulture and also in my work as a gardener and plant salesman – improving my own understanding of plant propagation and best practice. The M-Hort is the highest qualification offered by the Royal Horticultural Society and is widely regarded as one of the highest industry qualifications; completion of the course would enable me to have a greater voice in the horticulture industry and to contribute further to horticultural research.”

Peter is hoping that through his research he can collect enough data to justify further research and eventually hopes to be able to submit his findings to a professional journal contributing to the collective understanding of Plant Acoustic Frequency Technology within the horticulture industry; it is still a topic around which there is far more to be researched and understood.

Hannah Bodley, Head of Marketing and Community Engagement from The Parks Trust said;

“We are delighted to support Peter with this fascinating study which will provide interesting insight for the horticultural industry.  The Parks Trust looks after over 6,000 acres of parkland in Milton Keynes and we recognise the importance of the study of horticulture and encouraging young people in these important career paths.  We hope this will also help Peter with his attainment of the M-Hort award.” 

We're really looking forward to following all three award winners progress and hearing all about their travels and research.