Celebrating over £1.4m of support from Santander

15 October 2020‌

Glasgow Caledonian University has signed a new three-year partnership with Santander Universities that will enable positive change in the lives of students, staff and graduates.

The new agreement takes Santander Universities’ total support for GCU students and staff to more than £1.4m since 2009, with more than 1000 people supported through scholarships, travel awards and funded internships. The most recent donations during the pandemic for mental health training and student hardship have provided invaluable support when it was most needed. 

Noah_SantanderSocial Sciences graduate Noah Walakira (pictured) used his 2017 Santander Award to set up a community-based organisation, employing and training local people in Uganda to make clothes. Following a downturn in demand during the coronavirus pandemic, an additional Santander grant allowed him to switch to making reusable face masks. Distributing these free of charge to market vendors and motorbike couriers in Kampala, Noah and his team are making a huge impact on the health of their community as well as keeping his employees in work. 

Noah said: “On behalf of myself, my team and over 5000 market vendors, I express gratitude for the support towards the production and distribution of masks to market vendors around Kampala as a way to protect against catching and spreading Covid-19. The impact created is overwhelming.” 

Carly Edward, an Occupational Therapy student, has also been a beneficiary. She said: “My success throughout this challenging time has been enabled by the generosity of Santander Universities in awarding me a scholarship. 

“Being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic has been daunting, but, as an Occupational Therapy student, I was determined to adapt to the new way of life and learning in lockdown. 

“The scholarship has removed my financial challenges and concerns, which has allowed me to focus on my academic and professional development and consequently will enable me to reach my full potential, so that one day I can assist others to reach theirs.” 

The GCU Foundation celebrated the signing of the new three-year agreement with a special online event. 

Staff and students, via Zoom, heard updates from Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, and the Director of Santander Universities UK, Matt Hutnell, on the impact that the funding has had on the lives of so many GCU students. 

They also heard the stories of current and former beneficiaries on what the support means to them while GCU staff shared the impact of Santander-funded activity in their areas.

 Jill Watt, director of GCU Foundation, said: “We are proud to be part of the Santander Universities Network and are extremely grateful for their continued support.  Over the next three years, £240,000 of funding will provide a variety of opportunities for our students and staff by helping to alleviate financial hardship, boosting employability and key life skills and providing valuable wellbeing support at a time when they truly need it most.”    

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE said: “We are overwhelmed by the support Santander Universities has provided for Glasgow Caledonian University over the years.  This allows our students and graduates to go out into the world and deliver our University’s mission for the Common Good.” 

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, said: “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK. We are proud to continue our partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University for a further three years and look forward to working together in providing even more opportunities which will benefit both students and the local community over the coming years.”