Philanthropic alumni create 60 scholarships at Northumbria University

In just over six months since the launch of Northumbria University’s Higher Education Without Barriers fund, philanthropic alumni and businesses have created 60 new scholarships, donated £500,000, and benefitted more than 500 students.

These gifts are paving the way for more equality, economic security and entrepreneurship by helping fund:

  • Outreach work with young people who might not otherwise consider university.
  • Scholarships for academically able students from low-participation backgrounds.
  • Hardship bursaries for students facing financial challenges.
  • Support enterprise skills and new business start-ups.
  • Extend mental health and wellbeing initiatives.

The gift of opportunity

30% of Northumbria University students come from backgrounds where people are less likely to go to university. Generous donors empower these students to achieve their potential by providing vital financial support and encouragement.

A scholarship is a financial gift to support a specific student during their time at Northumbria University - for example, to help them cover course materials or the cost of living. But it’s about more than just money. Scholarship recipients report renewed enthusiasm for their studies thanks to the vote of confidence it represents from their sponsors. A scholarship says ‘You’re worth investing in’ - something which many students may not have heard or believed in the past.

Rolton Group is just one of the many businesses sponsoring scholarships, thanks to the vision of its Directors and its Chairman, Northumbria alumnus Peter Rolton. The business has funded a series of scholarships for women from minority ethnic backgrounds interested in studying Engineering. Peter Rolton says:

“It’s my pleasure to help establish these scholarships to support and encourage new talent into the engineering industry. The students will benefit from financial support, the industry will benefit from new energy and ideas, and I benefit from knowing I’ve been a small part of that story.”

Building better mental health

Another essential contribution made by alumni and business sponsors is improving student mental health.

Students experience several sources of stress when adjusting to university life - such as leaving home, gaining financial independence, and new academic challenges. With donors’ help, Northumbria University has extended their mental health services for students.

One example is NUTHINKING, a holistic approach to students’ mental and physical health funded by Sodexo. NUTHINKING recognises the strong link between nutrition, physical activity and improved mental health. It provides students with tailored fitness and nutritional support to help them eat well, move more, and de-stress.

In the first year, 30 students benefited from the scheme, including Ciara, who said:

“NUTHINKING helped me to be more consistent with my fitness goals, developing daily and weekly exercise habits that have improved my health and wellbeing. Thank you to Sodexo for making this possible.”

Sodexo have now extended their support to fund a second cohort.

Supporting student innovation

Businesses are also supporting student innovation through Northumbria University’s incubator. This gives entrepreneurial students and recent graduates the advice, guidance and resources they need to launch their start-up.

In 2020-2021, the combined turnover for Northumbria graduate businesses exceeded £95 million and Northumbria is now the top-ranked North East university for graduate start-up businesses. Alumni have helped make this happen through financial donations and in-kind support.

For example, global professional services firm EY offers pro bono support to entrepreneurs. They host regular business seminars, contribute to Northumbria’s Enterprise Weekends, and provide places on the EY Foundation’s Accelerate programme, which includes business masterclasses and coaching.

Harry Hawes, Operations Director at EY, explains it isn’t just the students and graduate who benefit.

“Supporting Northumbria’s entrepreneurs is the right thing to do for EY and key to growing business success across the North East. When students and graduates create businesses, they create jobs and economic prosperity that ripples through a whole region. That’s why we’re proud EY Ripples, our global CSR programme, supports Northumbria University.”

Projects like this are being funded with money raised by the University’s fundraising campaign, Higher Education Without Barriers. Northumbria is partnering with alumni, businesses, and other supporters to provide a range of financial initiatives, mental health and wellbeing services, and community-based projects, to make participation and progression in higher education more achievable for academically talented students, regardless of their social or economic circumstances.

To find out how your business can get involved, contact James Wilkinson: james.wilkinson@northumbria.ac.uk


This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Northumbria University .

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