Nottingham Potential opens its doors to the local community

25 Apr 2014 12:19:22.990

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The University of Nottingham will be officially launching its third IntoUniversity centre in Hyson Green on 29 April, helping young people in the area to reach university.

The IntoUniversity Nottingham Central Centre is part of the Nottingham Potentialprogramme, which represents a major investment in the future of the primary and secondary-age school pupils and a multimillion pound commitment to help break down the barriers to higher education. Nottingham Central Centre is part of the Nottingham Potentialprogramme, which represents a major investment in the future of the primary and secondary-age school pupils and a multimillion pound commitment to help break down the barriers to higher education.

Delivered by education charity IntoUniversity in partnership with The University of Nottingham, Nottingham Potential is providing new learning centres in the local community to support pupils from the ages of 7-18, including one-to-one support with homework, literacy and numeracy, coursework, exams, GCSE options and A-levels, careers advice and applications to university.

This is the third of three learning centres to be opened in Nottingham. IntoUniversity Nottingham West in Broxtowe was opened in February 2012 and IntoUniversity Nottingham East opened in April 2013. The centres provide a base within the community for long-term, tailored support for young people.

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Helping communities

Nottingham Potential has been made possible by a significant £2.1m donation from the David Ross Foundation and other generous supporters. The David Ross Foundation was founded by David Ross, Nottingham law alumnus and co-founder of Carphone Warehouse.

The Foundation has a breadth of experience in working with schools and setting up initiatives that aim to increase young people’s aspirations. The Foundation’s donation enhances the University’s own substantial financial commitment.

Nottingham Potential builds on the University’s successful work over the past decade within under privileged communities, and aims to provide earlier, broader interventions for young people to raise attainment and encourage progression to university. It will increase outreach significantly — particularly in regard to work with primary and lower-secondary school pupils.

Professor Alan Ford, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at the University, said: “Our commitment to raising aspirations and supporting achievement in the communities around Nottingham has been showcased through these three centres. The impact that the two centres have had on those who have attended is immense and they are already benefitting from the additional support. This third and final centre will undoubtedly be equally successful and we look forward to welcoming many more young people through the doors in the years to come.”

Philanthropic support

The University has launched Nottingham Potential alongside a significant increase in bursaries for low-income students. Together these developments represent a doubling of the University’s investment in widening participation, from £8m to £16m a year by 2015-16. Nottingham Potential forms one project within the Nurturing Talent theme of ‘Impact: the Nottingham Campaign’, the biggest fundraising campaign the University has ever launched. David Ross is co-chair of the Campaign Board.

The additional support from Nottingham Potential for students has resulted in more applicants being successful in receiving an offer and in taking up their places. Nottingham Potential is helping to deliver a step-change in the number of students from less advantaged backgrounds entering The University of Nottingham. The proportion of our intake from local partner schools has risen from 4% in 2002 to 11% in 2012. The proportion of UK students from low-income backgrounds enrolled at The University of Nottingham rose from 17.0% in 2004 to 24.6% in 2012-13.


David Ross, an alumnus of The University of Nottingham, is providing significant financial support to help turn Nottingham Potential into a reality. Mr Ross is the co-founder of the Carphone Warehouse and is the Chairman of the David Ross Foundation, a national charity.


Mr Ross said: “I believe passionately that every child can do something well and that by offering young people an outstanding range of educational opportunities and experiences, they will discover something they can excel at, which in turn raises their aspirations and enthusiasm to work hard and achieve their best. My experience with schools in deprived areas has shown that in order to raise young people’s aspirations then the earlier we start the better. We must work with children at an early age to show them that a university education is a door very much open to them.


“I was very lucky to have enjoyed my school and university years and I’m in a position now to be able to make a philanthropic commitment. That’s why I am personally supporting Nottingham Potential and the efforts of my former University to make a real and meaningful difference on this issue in the East Midlands.”

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Building ambition

Sam Durcam, aged 12 is a pupil at Ellis Guilford School in Nottingham and has been attending sessions at the Nottingham West Potential Centre for almost two years. He is currently being mentored by Ben Oakley, almost 10 years his senior and a third year Architecture student at The University of Nottingham.

Sam said: “I only tagged along with a friend in the beginning but after the first session I knew I’d be coming again and I expect I’ll be staying right through my school years. I want to stay here as long as I can. Having someone like Ben to talk to is like having an extra app on your phone. Sometimes I need extra information, which I can’t get at school, and the centre staff help me to find it. I don’t know what I am going to do after school but I am interested in a lot of subjects and I’d like to go to university but I think the centre is going to help me to make the right decision.”

Meanwhile for Ben the benefits of mentoring Sam are numerous: “I’m from Northumberland although I have relatives in Nottingham and for me this is a chance for me to get to know the city better and give something back to the community. Having a mentor relationship with Sam has given me experience of teaching, which is something I might like to develop as a career option. He’s a very bright student and asks me lots of questions. He’s very interested in science and I hope I’m able to give him a greater depth of understanding over and above what he’s learning at school. I’ve seen him grow with confidence since we’ve been talking.”


IntoUniversity, the University’s award-winning charity partner, has been working in London since 2002, developing local learning centres to support children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The charity, now with 15 centres across London, Bristol and Nottingham, offers an integrated programme of academic support, mentoring and aspiration-raising FOCUS programmes to help young people improve their academic achievement and attaining a university place.

IntoUniversity CEO Dr Rachel Carr OBE said: “We are delighted to be opening our third centre in partnership with The University of Nottingham. IntoUniversity centres work with children as young as seven to sow the seeds of aspiration early. We look forward to working with many more young people across Nottingham to support them on their journey to Higher Education”.

— Ends —

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university among graduate employers, the world’s greenest university, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World's Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Charlotte Anscombe, Media Relations & Campaign Manager, Marketing, Communications & Recruitment, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 74 84 417,


Charlotte Anscombe – Media Relations Manager (Arts and Social Sciences)

Email:  Phone:+44 (0)115 74 84 417 Location: University Park

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