University of Chichester

Helping homeless people into Higher Education

A project at the University of Chichester is transforming the lives of homeless people by empowering them with the confidence and skills to apply for degree courses.

Among them is Lucy Davies who started living on the streets at the age of 12 before soon falling into addiction. Now, at the age of 30, she is about to start a fine art degree. She is one of 10 students, all homeless and mostly recovering from addiction, who have applied to university after enrolling on a new 10-week course at the University of Chichester.

The course has been created in collaboration with homeless charity Stonepillow and has been designed to develop and assess academic skills to ensure the students are ready for the first year of university.

There are now 320,000 homeless people in Britain, according to Shelter, with those living on the streets twice as likely to develop mental health conditions.

Becky Edwards, who leads the project, says: "Being intelligent and being educated are not synonymous. Some of the most intelligent people in the UK are living in poverty, both economically and aspirationally. They’ve not been privileged enough, lucky enough, or supported enough to access good education. Going to university is simply something they’d never have considered. This project gives us the chance to change that.”

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