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The Chancellor's Appeal

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Essex Change Makers

Help our students change the world.

The University of Essex is home to the bold, the inquisitive and those impatient for change. Our students have the courage and energy to challenge, question and commit to the causes they believe in.

We want to support our students to do more: through increasing their participation in social action projects and through even more community engagement, locally and globally.

However, a significant percentage of our undergraduate students come from families with a household income below £25,000 a year – and we know that this stops many of our students being able to take part. This is often because they need to take on part-time and often low-skilled jobs to help them through their studies.

If these students don’t have the time or space to make a difference, to drive forward projects which change people lives, we all miss out on benefiting from their drive, imagination and energy. So how can we help all of our students to take action to deliver the positive change they feel our world needs?

We think we have an answer. Removing this financial barrier and opening up opportunities for social action and engagement to all of our students is the focus of Essex Change Makers.


John Bercow Chancellor's Appeal
"I am proud to be leading this Appeal. Essex has transformed my life and opportunities, and I believe Essex Change Makers will have a huge impact for our students and communities around the world. I would be so grateful if you could join me in supporting this Appeal."
The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Chancellor

Social action on a huge scale

Essex Change Makers will support the personal and professional development of our students, removing barriers to their participation in social action and community engagement and levelling the playing field for those discouraged by financial constraints.

Launching to students in 2020, Essex Change Makers will provide bursaries to support engagement in a programme of activities. Projects will focus on health and wellness, on older people, education and the environment, in the UK and around the world. Our bursaries will provide training, support students as they deliver these projects and allow them to reflect on and record their experiences.

Put simply, we will pay them not to take paid work, to instead commit to a project which delivers change. The programme will have three strands:

  • Planning and skill development – students will engage with training and development opportunities that equip them with the necessary skills and confidence to contribute to the development and planning of social action activities. 
  • Delivery and Impact – students will deliver social action projects with real and lasting benefit for their communities, whilst also evaluating impact and  monitoring effectiveness.
  • Reflection and Learning – students will undertake structured evaluation of their activities, to provide a demonstrable record of their achievement to show to future employers.

In total, 250,000 hours of time and potential will be unlocked over five years; enabling students to develop their skills and deliver projects or establish social ventures that will create benefits for our wider communities.

Social action activities will focus around themes and Change Maker weeks, looking at issues such as health and wellness, older people, education and the environment. Students will be able to participate alone or as part of a wider group, partnering with established community groups and social enterprises, creating new projects or joining activities that are led by the University.

With your help, Essex Change Makers will enable our students to deliver social action on a huge scale for the benefit of our global community.

The university will match your donations, pound for pound. Together we can change the world. Please give generously.

Why the Change Makers Appeal
is distinctive

No other UK university has sought to influence this agenda on the scale we seek to operate.
Our global mindset, ambition and reputation presents us with an opportunity to solve issues the world over.
The Appeal will allow us to scale up the way we support students undertaking social action.
We dare to think different, and to chase the stars. We seek solutions to today’s intractable community challenges.
Freedoms written in chalk
mother and daughter knitting
child in rain
two people giving high five
Kindred Motes - Change Makers Appeal
"Essex, for me, was the best educational gift I could have been given. I have taken this learning into my career, and am now focusing on how I can tackle social injustice and advocate for human rights."
Kindred Motes MA International Relations 2014 Vera Institute of Justice
Get in touch
Essex Change Makers Appeal
Telephone: 01206 872700