University chief saddles up for charity ride
13th June 2014
The Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University is to cycle the 200 kilometre second stage of the Tour de France, to raise funds for a new scheme to help more disadvantaged young people into higher education.
Professor Philip Jones will join the University's cycling team to ride the challenging York-Sheffield stage of the Tour as part of a major fundraising event on 29 June. The beneficiaries of the fundraising event will be a new fund for care leavers, which will provide financial support for students who have been in care; and Marie Curie Cancer Care - the official charity of the Grand Depart 2014. Funds will be split equally between the two. The University has a number of students who are care leavers - amongst the highest of any university in the UK. The number of care leavers in higher education is extremely low compared to other young people, with just 6% of care leavers entering some form of higher education against a national average of 34%. Marie Curie nurses provide care for patients and their families with free hands-on care and emotional support, in their own homes, right until the end of their lives. In the Sheffield region, Marie Curie nurses provide more than 30,000 hours of care for more than 1,300 patients per year. Professor Jones said: "The challenges facing care leavers entering education are significant and varied, and whilst we do all we can to help them - through specialised advice and guidance and financial support in the form of scholarships - demand outstrips supply and we receive more scholarship applications than we can award. "We want to change this situation and ensure that a higher number of care leavers can get the financial support they need to join us and transform their lives. That's why we have launched this new fund. "We also want our support for the Tour de France to have a lasting legacy for our students and the local community. A major part of that will be created by the new fund that we create to support care leavers in their studies." "I am very excited about taking part in this charity ride. I'm a keen cyclist, but this is a real challenge - it's the kind of distance that I'd normally cover in 3-4 days." The team will set off early from York on Sunday 29 June and then embark on the 198km ride to Sheffield. They expect to arrive into Sheffield at around 6pm, and will ride on past the official stage finish at Arena Square to a welcome reception outside the University's main building, where they will be able to recover from their challenging journey. To donate please visit our Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/VCsCycleRide