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17 July 2012
Pedal power set to widen access to education – and you can join in too

Twelve members of staff from The University of Nottingham, led by Vice-Chancellor David Greenaway, are to go the extra mile — or 1,100 extra miles to be precise — to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Bike riders

The team will cycle from the most north-westerly point on the UK mainland, Cape Wrath, Scotland to Dover on the South-East coast of England, to secure funds to support a range of outreach activities to help more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter further and higher education.

With last year’s John O’Groats to Land’s End challenge still fresh in the memory, the Vice-Chancellor — who turned 60 in March — recognises the task ahead as he strives to secure more than the £230,000 raised in 2011 for the Sue Ryder Centre for Research on Palliative and End of Life Care.

But there are lots of opportunities for alumni, friends and members of the public to join in too with a series of family-friendly rides and events on Sunday 2nd September in Nottingham.  So why not come along and join in. To find out more or for entry details, please visit: www.nottingham.ac.uk/lifecycle/getinvolved

Professor Greenaway said: “Last year was an amazing experience. Despite being pushed well beyond our comfort zones, the journey surpassed our expectations. The amount we raised was way beyond our initial target and the fantastic support we received throughout was invigorating and humbling.

“A new goal is in sight. Raising the aspirations of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and supporting them to raise and realise their ambitions is something I feel passionately about. It is a cause which will provide real inspiration and motivation for an even tougher challenge.”

Professor Greenaway has first-hand experience of the benefits of widening access to education. Raised in Shettleston in the east end of Glasgow, he was the first in his family to receive higher education. He was encouraged by teachers to stay on in school to complete his A levels and from there went on to study at Liverpool Polytechnic and The University of Liverpool.

Having benefitted from this opportunity, Professor Greenaway now oversees the University’s annual £7 million investment in bursaries and scholarships. But much more needs to be done in addition to providing financial support to those who actually secure a place at University. Nottingham Life Cycle 2 promises to generate further funds to raise aspirations among young people and ensure background does not limit the ambition of those with the ability to achieve academic excellence.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Knowledge Transfer, Professor Chris Rudd added: “This time the gloves are off and the cleats are on. I’ve abandoned the butcher’s bike and invested in some shiny new wheels. Not promising to be any faster than last year but it should look better in the photos!

“LC2 picks up a wholly different challenge. It will help those from economically or socially disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education. This isn’t just important for individuals — it’s also critical to social mobility.”

As we have already mentioned, alumni and members of the public will also have the opportunity to get involved on Sunday 2nd September.  This year there will be three, free community events to mark the riders’ arrival in Nottingham. To find out more or for entry details, please visit: www.nottingham.ac.uk/lifecycle/getinvolved

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