The Queen presents college with prestigious award at Buckingham Palace

The Queen has officially presented Rochdale’s Hopwood Hall College and University Centre with the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize. 

It was a special moment for both the college and the borough as the coveted prize was awarded during a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace. 

Her Majesty was joined by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester as she welcomed college staff to the platform at the royal residence. 

These team members then proudly accepted the accolade, which was presented in recognition of the college’s outstanding success in widening participation for 16-18 year olds from marginalised communities.

This is the result of a groundbreaking trauma-informed framework that has been integrated across the college’s two campuses in Middleton and Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

Hopwood Hall learned it had won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize – the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a further education college – during a ceremony held at St James’s Palace in November.

Ahead of the event at Buckingham Palace, staff also attended a formal gala hosted by the Royal Anniversary Trust at Guildhall in London.

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO of Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, said: 

“We are truly honoured to have been presented with the Queen’s Anniversary Prize by Her Majesty The Queen.

“This really is such a special moment – not just for our college community but for the entire borough.

“We’ve been over the moon to have so many people joining us in our celebrations, including students, parents, our employer partners, the council and many more people from across Rochdale. 

“This Queen’s Anniversary Prize really is a fantastic example of one of the many groundbreaking initiatives that are taking place in the borough and receiving national attention.” 

Caroline Street, Executive Director – Business and Student Support at Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, said: 

“Our team is so proud to have attended this momentous celebration at Buckingham Palace.  

“This Queen’s Anniversary Prize really is such an incredible recognition of the important and impactful work going on at Hopwood Hall College and in Rochdale. 

“The Queen showed a great interest in our trauma-informed approach to widening participation in education and expressed her thanks for the work the college does.”

Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of Royal Anniversary Trust, said:

“The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for higher and further education are an integral part of our national Honours system, shining a light on the groundbreaking work taking place in universities and colleges across the UK. 

“All 22 Prize-winners demonstrate excellence, innovation and impact, with many tackling some of the toughest problems we as a society face.”


Middleton Campus
Rochdale Road, Middleton
Manchester, M24 6XH
0161 643 7560
Rochdale Campus
St. Mary’s Gate
Rochdale, OL12 6RY
01706 345 346