UEA and IntoUniversity supports underprivileged students in Norwich
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe which led to a majority of countries announcing the temporary closure of schools. According to the United Nations, more than 91% of students worldwide were impacted by these closures, and by April, close to 1.6 billion children and youth were out of school. Nearly 369 million children who relied on school meals were left to look for other sources of daily nutrition.
Institutions of higher education often have an interest in building strong relationships with the communities that surround their campuses. While corporations, businesses, and residents often flee from economically depressed low-income urban and suburban neighborhoods, universities remain.
The need for safe places have become greater as dangerous environments and challenging situations await many children and young adults, especially those in these neighborhoods. Community-based education programmes are not new to many countries and while many innovations have been undertaken by governments and NGO’s, such initiatives take loads of time, money, and planning to bring to fruition.
In Norwich, thousands of disadvantaged students are deserving of a better chance to make it to university, and with plans of a new education centre recently revealed, their prospects of reaching higher education could become three times more likely.
A partnership between the University of East Anglia (UEA) and IntoUniversity, the UK’s largest university access charity, has recently been announced. The West Earlham Community Centre will be seen through to become a new safe place that serves as a learning centre for students aged seven to 18.
More than half the funding for the centre in Norwich will be provided by UEA, along with five full-time faculty members recruited to deliver after-school Academic Support sessions to primary and secondary students, aspiration-building workshops, in partnership with local schools, and a mentoring programme with current university students and professionals.
“UEA is a great believer in social mobility and giving every student the opportunity of reaching and achieving their goals in higher education. IntoUniversity’s record in providing the most disadvantaged young people in the country with this chance is as good as it gets and the centre is right on the doorstep of our campus, meaning we can continue to provide close support and resources to the project”, says UEA’s assistant head of outreach, Charlotte Wheatland.
“This partnership is great news for UEA because it reinforces what we stand for as an institution but also for Norwich because the many thousands of young people from the city who will use the centre in the coming years will benefit from a greater chance of achieving higher grades and expanding their career and life options”, Wheatland adds.
Having supported over 42,000 students across 21 centres and projects in 31 centres and projects in 13 towns and cities in 2018-19, the West Earlham Community Centre will be IntoUniversity’s first in Norfolk. Through this partnership, they aim to build on existing partnerships developed between local schools and UEA’s outreach team.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with UEA to open an IntoUniversity centre in Earlham next spring. The centre will be our first in Norfolk as the charity continues to reach out to new communities and support the young people who need us most. We are looking forward to building partnerships with schools and families in the local community to support students in Earlham to achieve their ambitions”, says IntoUniversity’s co-founder and chief executive, Dr. Rahcel Carr.