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University of Bristol wins top award for supporting student social mobility

Jon Lightfoot, Gemma Exelby (Universities Partnership Manager at upReach) and Dr Katie Bales

18 December 2019

The University of Bristol’s Sanctuary Scholarship scheme, which offer scholarships to refugee and asylum seekers, won top honours at the recent Student Social Mobility Awards.

Since 2016, the University has provided 37 scholarships to students living in the UK from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds to help them access foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Using fee waivers and stipends, the programme has been set up to remove some of the traditional barriers to accessing higher education for students from forced migration communities.

The Student Social Mobility Awards, which took place at the House of Lords, recognised the Sanctuary Scholarship's success in improving the future prospects and employability of students from less-advantaged backgrounds by awarding it the Highest Impact University Initiative accolade.

Organised by student social mobility charity upReach, the University of Bristol beat off competition from 11 other universities to be crowned winners of the Highest Impact University Initiative.

The award coincides with the pledge of an additional £100,000 funding for Sanctuary Scholarship from the University's Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO).

To date, the programme has received £95,000 from philanthropic funding, a combination of gift funding from individuals and university alumni. The increased funding, which reflects the high level of support the scheme has had from alumni donors, will allow the scholarship to continue and ultimately support even more eligible students.

The University achieved a 'University of Sanctuary' award last September in recognition of its sector-leading efforts. It is one of only 12 universities in the country to be recognised with this accolade.

Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University of Bristol, said: "I am so proud that our Sanctuary Scholarship scheme has been recognised for this Student Social Mobility Award. The scheme, which offers people from refugee and asylum-seeking communities invaluable opportunities to study at the University of Bristol, is transforming lives.

"It is also wonderful to see that our alumni donors have really stepped forward to support this initiative, with £100,000 secured to support the scheme’s future development. Our commitment to our University of Sanctuary status is strong, and truly international in scope."

The award was collected by Student Funding Officer Jon Lightfoot and Dr Katie Bales, a Lecturer in Law who was instrumental in setting up the Sanctuary Scholarships scheme.

Hear from the students who are benefitting from the Sanctuary Scholarship:

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