University Partnerships Programme (UPP), the leading provider of on campus student accommodation and support services in the UK, today announces the launch of the UPP Foundation, a charitable trust created to help tackle the biggest issues facing the higher education sector across the UK.
UPP is the sole funder of the UPP Foundation and, based on the current business plan, intends to invest £2.5 million over the next five years. UPP’s investment in the UPP Foundation will increase as it expands and builds on its market leading position.
The UPP Foundation will award grants to universities, charities and other higher education bodies, in order to support the sector in tackling issues within four strategic themes:
- Increase access and retention
- Improve student employability
- Enhance civic universities
- Develop global citizens
The UPP Foundation will also provide a public policy platform enabling sector leaders, experts and the wider public the opportunity to debate the future of higher education.
The UPP Foundation is an autonomous charity and will be supported by an Advisory Board made up of highly regarded sector specialists from leading UK universities, think tanks, industry bodies and Government. The Advisory Board will be chaired by the Rt Hon. David Laws, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Schools Minister and Cabinet Office Minister.
The Rt Hon. David Laws, Chair of the Advisory Board, UPP Foundation, commented: “It is an honour to have been asked to chair the UPP Foundation Advisory Board and I look forward to working with the Board and with UPP. The UK is home to some of the very best universities in the world and in order to protect and preserve this status we must ensure that student experience, equity and accessibility remain at the heart of our higher education system. Through working with the UPP Foundation, I hope to encourage debate and discussion around the future of higher education and to enable exciting new innovations to take place.”
One of the UPP Foundation’s first actions will be to award a grant to the UK’s student mental health charity, Student Minds. In order to help create supportive environments for students, Student Minds delivers research-driven training and support. The charity also equips students and staff with the tools necessary to bring about positive change on their campuses through campaigning and facilitating peer support programmes. The UPP Foundation’s grant will support this important work and help to ensure students are provided with the knowledge, confidence and skills to look after their own mental health and to support others.
The UPP Foundation will fund Student Minds’ Student Living project, working in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University. The project includes the development of a front-line staff training scheme, informed by a focused research project. The resulting guidance pack with be published to increase sector understanding of the experiences of accommodation staff and students. In addition, peer support for students will be piloted on-site at Nottingham Trent University. This project, which represents a first for the higher education sector, will help to inform UPP and the sector’s approach to student mental health.
Paul Marshall, Group Business Development Director at UPP and UPP Foundation Trustee Board Chair commented: “The UPP Foundation presents a fantastic opportunity to support the higher education sector, expand public debate and encourage collaboration and the sharing of best practice. A corporate foundation is visible and centralised avenue for focusing and directing critically important Corporate Social Responsibility activity and will ensure the best possible outcomes for our charity partners. I’m delighted to announce the launch of the Foundation and I look forward to the official launch event in the Summer.”
For more information please go to www.upp-foundation.org