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University of Chichester’s homeless initiative gets UPP backing

  • UPP Foundation grant for University of Chichester course which help homeless students access higher education
  • Charity pledges £18,000 to expand initiative and document impact on students and community
  • Course leader Becky Edwards hopes to further develop course to benefit other regions of UK with high rates of homelessness

 

A PROJECT by the University of Chichester to empower homeless people with the skills and confidence needed to start a degree has been backed by a national charity.

The UPP Foundation, which is part of the University Partnerships Programme, has agreed to fund the Adversity to University initiative. The innovative 12-week pilot course developed by Chichester has so far helped five homeless students, all of whom have gone on to start degrees at the University.

As much as £18,000 has been pledged by the UPP Foundation to expand the course and help the University research the impact and benefits to its students and the local community.

Becky Edwards, below, who is responsible for the University project, said she was delighted to receive funding and the backing of the UPP Foundation. Speaking of the importance of the course, she added: “Being intelligent and being educated are not synonymous, some of the most intelligent people in the UK are living in poverty, both economically and aspirationally.”

On the completion of the pilot, the UPP Foundation and University of Chichester will engage with the HE sector, presenting details of the work to date to encourage and support additional institutions to run similar projects.

Pioneering social work lecturer Becky Edwards, responsible for the University project

Director of the UPP Foundation Richard Brabner said: “In awarding the grant funding, we are confident that the proposed pilot project will incubate new ideas to help address some of the biggest issues in the HE sector. They will help the most disadvantaged individuals gain access to university, better understand ways to improve graduate outcomes for UK and international students and measure the overall impact universities have on their local communities.”

As with the University’s first course cohort, the expanded pilot will support homeless students who are among the most vulnerable in our society, including ex-offenders, ex-servicemen, care leavers, and victims of domestic violence. It promises to help those involved regain their independence and realise their potential.

Ben M, a graduate of the University course, said: “I have been given opportunities I didn't think would be possible after struggling to find direction for so many years. I'm realising potential that I never thought I'd have a chance to explore. I feel like I have learned enough skills to make the journey into higher education.”

A blog by Becky Edwards published in Wonkhe introduces the finer details of the course and how it could help tackle the growing numbers of homeless people in the UK each year: www.wonkhe.com/blogs/homeless-people-need-more-than-housing-and-universities-can-help

To find out more about Chichester’s Adversity to University initiative and the students that it has helped go to www.chi.ac.uk/news/chichesters-pioneering-project-helps-homeless-people-university-madeatuni.

Alternatively for more about the UPP Foundation and how it is supporting UK universities visit www.upp-foundation.org.