Preston university chiefs join national campaign to help students affected by Covid-19

The University of Central Lancashire has signed up to support for a new national initiative to help disadvantaged students affected by the pandemic to move into into higher education.

Dr Liz Granger
Dr Liz Granger

UCLan is one of 50 organisations throwing its weight behind a new online hub, ‘Uni4Me’, bringing together 250 online activities from organisations in the higher education sector, which was launched today by the Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan.

The hub, led by the National Education Opportunities Network and funded by the participating organisations, will act as central portal where learners, parents and teachers can access free activities to help them progress to HE.

It will offer free, interactive activities including virtual courses in a range of subjects led by university academics; online tuition and support in core GCSE/A Level academic subjects; live events involving leading academics, students and specialist HE advisers; information sessions for parents/carers and virtual campus tours.

University Central Lancashire

Dr Liz Granger, UCLan's head of widening participation and public engagement, said: "The COVID crisis has had a disproportionately negative effect on disadvantaged communities and highlighted the need for enhanced support for learners.

"This is especially the case in Lancashire, where six of the 14 areas are within the most deprived 20 percent in the country. "

She added: "Here at UCLan we’re fully behind this new initiative which will enhance our extensive widening participation activities with schools, colleges and community groups.

" Providing fairer opportunities for all, so young people can reach their potential, is central to our purpose."

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The sedge follows hard on the heels of UCLan signing up to former Education Secretary Justine Greening’s Social Mobility Pledge to tackle Britain’s widespread lack of social mobility.

Alongside the online resources on Uni4Me, and in a strategy designed to help with the catch-up needed after this year’s school closures ahead of next academic year, UCLan is offering free summer tutoring to young people from backgrounds under-represented at university.

The hub will also support HE providers and Uni Connect partnerships in their work to widen access to higher education for those from under-represented groups.