New initiatives include the launch of the University of Brighton's Student Potential Fund, which raised over £130,000 via initiatives such as the university's first ever Giving Day in April 2021. This fund also benefited from a £36,000 donation from Brighton-based firm Family Law Partners to fund a new Law student scholarship, while benefactor Steve Garden committed £50,000 to support business students.
Among other aid, the Student Potential Fund has provided 56 scholarships. More than half (55%) of those assisted came from households with an income under £25,000 a year, 16% had a declared disability, and 12% were of Black or Black-Mixed Heritage.
This year saw several Black and Black-Mixed Heritage scholarships awarded to students in their first year of undergraduate study, such as Pharmacy student Calebtina Peprah. She said: “Receiving this funding has given me confidence and growth in more ways than I expected. I did a summer placement in the community pharmacy, and benefited from it greatly. I have also joined the university's team of student ambassadors to offer help and support to students like myself. It has influenced my personal life as I can be responsible for myself and the actions I take that will shape my future career.”
Santander Universities UK has been a long-time benefactor, providing £1.3m to support over 1,700 University of Brighton students since 2008. Their annual Ideas Competition funds outstanding business and social enterprise ideas – such as 2021 winner Connie Brownjohn, who is now creating a prototype of a sustainable cotton changing robe that avoids microplastic pollution. She gained further crucial financial support with the Roger Cowdrey Entrepreneurship in the Arts Breakthrough Award.
Nursing student May Hau also received life-changing philanthropic assistance, saying: “I am eternally grateful to the Santander Progression Scholarship for helping me to pursue my dreams of becoming a Theatre Nurse! The scholarship has helped me fund study materials and travel costs to hospital for placements, all while being a mature student working three jobs.”
The generosity of donors is also funding postgraduate studentships and research into topics as different as the impact of firefighting on female firefighters to how stress impedes cancer recovery. Groundbreaking research aiming to eliminate the main cause of back pain in the UK (degeneration of the intervertebral disc) is now going on thanks to £145,288 given by consultant orthopaedic surgeon John Shepperd to create the Shepperd Fellowship at the university's Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Devices.
Philanthropy is also funding vital student services – never more important as more students experience mental health struggles. Donations are providing training for students to become paid Wellbeing Champions, for example – part of a wider team who, in the past year, have provided support to nearly 250 fellow students.
Marnie Middlemiss, Director of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, said: “It is astonishing what has been achieved, given the circumstances of the last year. We are excited about new opportunities starting this academic year.”
Every pound donated by supporters plays a role in helping students and the wider University of Brighton community achieve its greatest potential. For further details of how you can help, contact the Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement Office directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.