Former nurse and lecturer Isabel Dosser has won the 2023 Alumni Impact Award, while Daniel Crehan has been named Rising Star

Date posted

4 October 2023


A former nurse and lecturer who set up an organisation offering free toiletries to people in need, and a recent graduate who combines student housing work with charity management, are being honoured by Edinburgh Napier University.

Isabel Dosser has won the Alumni Impact Award, and Daniel Crehan honoured with the Alumni Rising Star prize at ENU's 2023 Alumni Awards.

Both former students have been singled out for their difference-making work, following their time at the University.

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal & Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “Isabel Dosser and Daniel Crehan are role models for Edinburgh Napier students and inspire the entire ENU community. I am delighted to award them these accolades.

“Isabel epitomises Edinburgh Napier’s values. As CEO and Founder of Dignity Boxes she is making a huge societal and community impact by providing free toiletries to those most in need.A Dignity Box full of toiletries at a cafe

“She also champions the University by providing our students with invaluable experience via workplace learning opportunities and collaborates with numerous departments at the University.

“Daniel graduated only a couple of years ago but already has had career success. I’m impressed with his dedication to enriching the lives of those living in student accommodation in the UK and Ireland.

“Most extraordinary is his involvement with the Edinburgh Students' Charities Appeal. Daniel is Chair of the 150-year-old charity and expertly guided the organisation through its post-Covid recovery.”

Dignity Boxes

Isabel Dosser founded Dignity Boxes following her retirement in 2018, in response to rising levels of poverty. Her charity’s work continues to this day, amid increasing demand, despite having to undergo cancer treatment during the Covid pandemic.

Having studied at ENU to gain her teaching qualification, and subsequently lectured in nursing at the University for 15 years, the 67-year-old has now been awarded the 2023 Alumni Impact Award in recognition of her remarkable career. Born and raised in Glasgow, her time teaching followed 30 years of work as a palliative care nurse.

The charity collects toiletry donations and offers them in areas around Edinburgh and the Lothians experiencing deprivation, including seven schools, allowing those in need to take what they cannot afford from a Dignity Box without having to ask anyone.ENU 2023 Alumni Impact Award winner and Dignity Boxes founder Isabel Dosser

The number of organisations asking for a box has doubled since the cost-of-living crisis began, while donations have halved.

Isabel said: “I am very surprised but delighted to receive the Impact Award as I don’t think I am anything special.

“I just do what I do and have always loved learning and taking a chance on something new. I am happy receiving the award if it means that I am encouraging others.

“Age doesn't matter if you really want to do something. If you have an idea then give it a go but take all the advice and help that is offered.

“When you feel despair and frustration, just remember why you started, and remember being kind doesn't cost anything.”

Since founding Dignity Boxes, Isabel has been supported by Edinburgh Napier to help it reach as many people as possible. Students, staff and alumni are among its 35 active volunteers, two former University colleagues are on its board, and a graphic design class was enlisted to design the logo.

The Alumni Awards committee, which aims to recognise graduates who are making a difference in their community, praised Isabel for epitomising Edinburgh Napier’s values as an inspiration and a role model.

Isabel added: “Life is full of challenges, professionally and personally, but I am by nature a positive and pragmatic person. I am fortunate to be surrounded by supportive family and friends who have helped me through difficult times.

“This was never needed more so than during Covid as I was diagnosed with cancer. The charity’s board of trustees and volunteers were amazing and kept the charity going while I was undergoing treatment. I have now finished my treatment and am monitored regularly.”

Rising StarAlumni Rising Star Award winner 2023 Daniel Crehan

Also honoured in the 2023 awards is Daniel Crehan, who has won the Alumni Rising Star award.

Despite only graduating from the BA (Hons) International Festival & Event Management two years ago, he now works at student housing company Yugo. It houses more than 40,000 students each year across nine countries, and Daniel is responsible for selling the empty rooms outside of term time. He manages 10 sites across the UK and Ireland.

Alongside his paid employment, Daniel is making an impact via his volunteering responsibilities. He has been an active supporter of the Edinburgh Students' Charities Appeal (ESCA) since his student days and was elected Chair in 2021. ESCA was founded over 150 years ago and organises events for Edinburgh residents as well as provides support to student clubs associated with any university or college in Edinburgh who wish to fundraise for a cause. Their work has raised over £476,500 for charity since 2015 alone

Daniel said: “I didn’t expect to win the Rising Star Award and was delighted to even be nominated. It was particularly nice to receive this from Edinburgh Napier University because I consider everything that I’ve accomplished to be a domino effect from my time at ENU. 

“There are so many incredible people on my course alone that make me go, ‘wow’, but this award has forced me to stand back and go ‘oh, you’ve actually achieved quite a lot yourself, Daniel’.

"To any recent graduate reading this, I want to tell you that you don’t need to put so much pressure on yourself.

"It doesn’t matter if your classmates are posting stuff on LinkedIn about their new graduate internship or job. Your time will come."


2023 Alumni Awards winners