Last year the University of Chichester developed an innovative 12-week pilot course that provided local homeless students with the skills required to succeed in Higher Education (HE).
‘From Adversity to University’ was completed by five homeless students and the first pilot was a huge success, with all five students going on to study at the University.
That is why the UPP Foundation has provided £18,000 of funding to expand the pilot in 2020 and help the University research the impact and benefits of the project to students, the University and the local community.
On the completion of the pilot, the UPP Foundation and University will engage with the HE sector, presenting details of the work to date to encourage and support additional HE institutions to run similar projects.
As with the first course, the expanded pilot will support homeless students who are amongst 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.
Saul N was a runaway and has now started his degree in outdoor adventure education. He said: “Coming to uni has helped my recovery and given me ambitions. That’s a confidence booster. It’s made me realise that I can do something with my life.”
“Being intelligent and being educated are not synonymous,” says her pioneering social work lecturer Becky Edwards, responsible for the University project, which helps participants earn basic qualifications to start a full degree. “Some of the most intelligent people in the UK are living in poverty, both economically and aspirationally.”
Dr Mark Mason, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Chichester, said: “This just confirmed my belief in the power of education to think the world and ourselves otherwise.”
Ben M, a graduate of the University bridging 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.”
Impact of Covid-19 – Students involved with the project have moved to online learning. Although this presents new challenges, the team at the University of Chichester are determined to support the students through this period and enable them to transition to undergraduate study next year.