Since 2007, UoC has established a strong track record in widening participation, with 20% of our students (compared to 10.9% nationally) originating from neighbourhoods where participation in higher education is typically very low.
Furthermore, up to a fifth of Cumbria’s electoral wards have the lowest rate of participation amongst young people in the UK, and out of 1,010 wards in the North West, Mirehouse (Whitehaven) has the seventh lowest rate of participation at only 8.7%, Moss Bay (Workington) the eleventh, Botcherby (Carlisle) the twelfth and Upperby (Carlisle) the thirteenth.
Within this context, UoC experiences substantial demand for its student support funds, and is continually looking at ways in which external partners and organisations can help students to realise their full potential, and for financial barriers preventing access to higher education to be removed.
As the University’s principal student support fund, Bright Futures already makes a tangible difference to individuals who’re studying on our programmes. However, we want to dramatically increase the profile and reach of this fund, and have begun engaging with a number of funders in the region that will help us to do this.
Early in 2016 we will be announcing a new campaign for the Bright Futures Fund, with a vision to see this acting as a vehicle for positively, and sustainably, impacting the lives of individuals from a range of diverse backgrounds; and for this to bring far-reaching benefits to Cumbria.
In the meantime, if you wish to find out more about developments around the Bright Futures Fund or think that your business or organisation might want to be involved in directly supporting, and enabling, access to education and enhancing our students’ prospects of employment, then please do get in touch.