Our alumni community has never felt stronger despite the turbulence we have all experienced since the pandemic hit. In one of our biggest fundraising appeals to date, close to one thousand graduates have come together, giving back to students in need, raising an incredible £370,000 and providing over one thousand students with emergency grants, easing their financial stress and enabling them to confidently continue with their education and focus on their future.

Over the last year, John Bercow, has hosted a series of intimate ‘fireside chats’ on Zoom, thanking alumni for their philanthropic support to our Hardship Fund appeal and talking about the impact their generosity has had in helping students overcome the worst of the pandemic. 

During the talks, John has spoken proudly and passionately about his Essex journey, with alumni also revealing their own motivations for giving back, showcasing the very best of our Essex Spirit. We feel very lucky that John, as an Essex graduate himself, is committed to staying connected with alumni and cares so deeply about our students and their future. 

John Bercow on the ground of Wivenhoe Park holding a 'thank you' sign

Thank you to all who have donated to our appeal since its launch in April 2020. Although the UK is now on a pathway back to normality, there are still challenges ahead. The last two years have shown us all that we simply don’t know what environment we might find ourselves in with just a few days’ notice, so we’re making sure that emergency financial support will continue to be available for our students whatever the future holds. 

Whilst coronavirus has been, and still is, the trigger for so many students’ financial difficulties, we know there are many other factors that unexpectedly affect students, and the Hardship Fund continues to support them too. 

If you would like to find out more about how your support of our Hardship Fund will make a difference to students who need it most, please get in touch with our Philanthropy team.