IntoUniversity is a charity that works tirelessly with children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them to attain a university place or another chosen aspiration, intervening early and often. The first centre to open in 2002 was in North Kensington, a centre which continues to thrive; the head office of IntoUniversity is also based on the same site, the Clement James Community Centre. There are now 22 centres across the country, all based in the heart of the communities they serve, and IntoUniversity has transformed the futures of more than 50,000 students from some of the UK’s poorest homes. Centres provide academic support, mentoring by university and corporate volunteers, and aspiration building through FOCUS study weeks, workshops and activities.
Dr Rachel Carr OBE, Chief Executive and Co-Founder, commented “We start working with children at primary school to sow the seeds of ambition.” Applying to university at 17 is the culmination of a series of choices and opportunities, so early intervention and long-term support is essential.
IntoUniversity build partnerships with local schools, local businesses, branches of national organisations and, of course, universities.
Leighton House is delighted to be developing a programme of learning activity working with this outstanding, impactful organisation. Our first collaboration was with Hammersmith Centre, who brought 24 children aged 7 – 11 to the museum as part of a half term holiday focus week, exploring the theme ‘Around the World’. This was followed by a visit from North Kensington Centre and 30 year-6 children exploring Journalism as part of their English curriculum, and careers awareness. As well as talking to Ana, our own Press and Marketing Officer, they wrote opinion pieces on Bita Ghezelayagh’s exhibition and took over the museum Instagram account. We also welcome a group of 30 year-6 children from Bow Centre, complementing their Maya study week. Next year we are very much looking forward to working with three groups of Year 6 children coming in January and February from Hackney Downs Centre, exploring the theme of Diversity and Inclusion.
It is tremendously rewarding to be working with the children, their teachers and the inspirational IntoUniversity team. Their study themes and aspirations encourage us to look at the house, garden and collections with fresh eyes, and to hear the questioning voices of the young as they reflect and respond with enthusiasm and insight.