That’s the ambitious objective set by Villiers Park Educational Trust during the unveiling of their appeal on Thursday 1 October in front of reception for over 100 guests at the launch of Positive Media Group held at Arclite House in West Swindon.
This new appeal is essential because the numbers of young people in Swindon from less advantaged backgrounds gaining the right GCSEs and A-levels to go to university are some of the lowest in England.
Because of their low levels of attainment, even the brightest Swindon pupils are not reaching their full potential and local companies are struggling to secure a skilled and competitive workforce. The Villiers Park Educational Trust Scholars Programme is a four year programme which raises the aspirations of high ability students from less advantaged backgrounds by tackling the obstacles preventing their success.
Ben, a former Scholar, who is now studying Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Southampton, said: “I doubt I would have got the grades to do my course without Villiers. Many friends from Swindon have given up on pursuing what they wanted to, so I thank Villiers Park for keeping me on the right track and letting me achieve the best I could.”
James Phipps, Group Owner at Positive Media Group and CEO of Excalibur Communications said: “Swindon has suffered from a lack of educational aspiration for generations, especially from less advantaged backgrounds. Villiers Park delivers a programme that gives the young people the confidence and aspirations to fulfil their potential. The results speak for themselves and I truly believe that it is life-changing for the Scholars, their families, their localities and for employers in Swindon. I have no hesitation to support the programme and if you met any of the Scholars involved I am confident you would to.”
During the reception guests had the chance to speak to the Scholars Programme Manager and Learning Mentors who explained how the programme raises confidence and motivates talented young people to pursue their dreams. The appeal already has the support of local organisations including Swindon Borough Council, SWLEP (Swindon Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership), and Positive Media Group while Swindonian Nick Hewer, of The Apprentice and Countdown fame, whole-heartedly backs the appeal.
Simon Williams, Director of Development and External Relations at Villiers Park, said: “We are extremely grateful to have the support of some local organisations already and are keen to talk to more companies and individuals who think they can help us to support our Swindon Scholars. We would like to thank Positive Media Group for their ongoing support for Villiers Park.”
Villiers Park Educational Trust is a registered charity with over 45 years of experience – inspiring young people to fulfil their potential by helping them develop a passion for learning and raising their aspirations. The charity is committed to fair access – enabling students from less advantaged backgrounds to gain places at leading universities and to thrive once there.
To find out how you can sponsor a local student please visit www.villierspark.org.uk.
Pictured top by Richard Wintle of Calyx from left, Cerian Lye-Owens (Learning Mentor), Jenny Wilkins (Swindon Scholars Programme Manager), Abigail Sainty, (Development Executive), Catherine Jones, (Development Intern) and Julie Kiddier (Learning Mentor)
Read more about Swindon’s Positive Media Group