Santander UK is to provide £4.5million of funding to its 85 university partners across the UK to support their Covid-19 initiatives.
Santander, through Santander Universities, has supported higher education across the UK over the past decade with scholarships, student employability initiatives, and funding. Santander is now both repurposing and providing additional funding to support universities in alleviating the health and educational challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The support will assist universities on the front-line of carrying out medical research, providing additional protective equipment for NHS staff as well as supporting student front-line volunteers at local NHS hospitals.
It will also support university emergency hardship funds which provide grants to students who require financial support for living costs or resources for the transition towards a digital learning environment. This includes IT equipment and support, such as laptops and broadband connectivity, which would normally be accessed on campus, to ensure students can continue with their studies. In addition, the funding will go towards offering support for student mental health and wellbeing.
There will also be grants to support local SMEs and charities by providing fully funded virtual internship schemes for students and graduates to help businesses affected by Covid-19. Funds will also support student founders in early stage start-up businesses to remain operational in the current environment, particularly as they may not qualify for any other financial support.
Matt Hutnell, Director, Santander Universities, said:
“Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK so we’re pleased that our funding is able to be redirected to where it is most needed at this critical time. Universities are doing some fantastic work to contribute to the UK’s effort to combat the outbreak of COVID-19, so we’re delighted to collaborate with our university partners in a way which increases their response effort and look forward to continuing to work with them on supporting both students and the broader higher education community with further initiatives over the coming months.”
The funding comes alongside a broader set of initiatives introduced by Santander UK in response to the coronavirus outbreak to support communities. These include a £1million donation from the Santander Foundation to Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society to support some of the most vulnerable people in the community following the outbreak of Covid-19 and doubling the work time that Santander employees can claim to volunteer.
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