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Creating opportunities for thousands of young people in Newcastle

27th July 2021

A new learning centre designed to support more young people to fulfil their potential and achieve a place at university will be launched in Newcastle.

The new IntoUniversity centre in Newcastle is a partnership between Northumbria and Newcastle Universities and IntoUniversity - the UK’s largest university-access charity – and will be based at Monkchester Community Centre.

Supporting young people aged between 7-18 in Newcastle, the centre will open in October and provide invaluable academic support, soft-skill development and experience of the world of work to enable young people to achieve a university place or another chosen aspiration.

Funded by the two universities, together with the Buffini Chao Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation and other philanthropic backers, the new centre will benefit over 1,000 students a year, delivering free after-school Academic Support sessions to Primary and Secondary school children, providing aspiration-building workshops and a Mentoring programme with current university students and professionals.

Northumbria University's Director of Strategic Planning, Dan Monnery said: “Northumbria University has an excellent track record for attracting students from all backgrounds and supporting them to succeed at university.

“IntoUniversity demonstrates our commitment to enabling young people to engage with higher education. It will open doors to underrepresented groups, and help deliver life-changing outcomes. We are extremely excited to be part of this collaboration.”

Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, Professor Chris Day said: “As someone born and raised in Newcastle, this initiative is close to my heart as we will be providing opportunities for young people to experience university learning and break down barriers.  This venture is part of our ongoing commitment to improve access to Higher Education for all young people, regardless of their background, and particularly here in the North East which has some of the lowest levels of applications to University in the country.

“Working with IntoUniversity, bringing them into the heart of our community with a model which we know works to improve achievement and aspiration, is truly heartening.”

Students will be able to access the centre for Academic Support after school Monday to Thursday during term time, and workshops with partner schools will run during the daytime throughout the week. The centre will operate alongside the community projects that already take place in the community centre.

Hugh Rayment-Pickard, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of IntoUniversity, said: “We're delighted to be partnering with Northumbria University and Newcastle University to work with schools to provide high-quality support to enable young people to succeed.  This work is especially important to provide a boost to many young people who may have lost out on learning during lockdown and because of self-isolation.”

Five full-time members of staff are being recruited and trained to deliver the free after-school sessions to school children, as well as workshops with partner schools that will run during the daytime throughout the week. The centre will operate alongside the community projects that already take place in the community centre.

IntoUniversity centres are based in the heart of local communities and support young people from 7 to 18, working closely with schools and families to sow the seeds of aspiration at a young age. The centre will be IntoUniversity’s first centre in Newcastle and, once established, will benefit over 1,000 students a year. It will also form part a keystone of the Collaborative Newcastle Universities Agreement.

In 2019-20, IntoUniversity supported more than 35,000 students across 31 centres and projects in 13 towns and cities, through a mixture of virtual and face-to-face support. In 2020, 71% of students who attended IntoUniversity centres gained a place at university, compared with 26% of students from similar backgrounds nationally.

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