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Higher Education Opportunities Grant

Need help to attend an Open Day or another university-level event? Applications for our Higher Education Opportunities Grant are now open!

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hello future

Who are we?
We are the Cumbrian hub of the national Uni Connect Programme, funded by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator for higher education in England. Their aim is to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. We are a partnership of further and higher education providers and organisations invested in skills and career development across Cumbria.

Find out more

What do we do?
We work with year 9 -13 students, learners, teachers, advisors, parents and carers across Cumbria, to provide impartial information and activities to help them make key decisions, important to higher education and further training. Working out what to do next is an exciting time but can feel like a big task. We offer a range of free workshops and events to schools, colleges, and community organisations, exploring the different routes into higher education. We cover information on university and higher/degree apprenticeships to provide guidance throughout the process. We also explore the key skills and experience needed for these different routes. We work with young people from target areas across Cumbria, to ensure that everyone is able to make informed and inspired choices about their future.

Why get involved?
Our programme aims to support the government’s social mobility goals by rapidly increasing the number of young people from underrepresented groups who go into higher education. We are working to:

  • Reduce the gap in higher education participation between the most and least represented groups
  • Support young people to make well-informed decisions about their future education.
  • Support effective and impactful local collaboration by higher education providers working together with schools, colleges, employers and other partners.
  • Contribute to a stronger evidence base around ‘what works’ in higher education outreach and strengthen evaluation practice in the sector.

Our programme has been designed to complement and add value to the work that higher education providers undertake through their access and participation plans across Cumbria. We are here to support you with free impartial information, support and guidance – all you have to do is come and Chat With Us!

Meet the team


Find out what skills, knowledge and experience employers are looking for by using the helpful resources on our website… 👀
#employabilityskills #employability #skills #employment #skilltraining

💙 Mental Health Awareness Week 💙

Kirsty has shared with you her favourite things to do that contribute towards a #PostiveMindset

"Relaxing and Unwinding is an important way to help with Mental Health. These three things help me unwind:

🧁 Baking 🧁 I love to bake for friends and family. I find the process very calming, and you get to have cake at the end which is a bonus! Cake is great ☺️

👣 Walking 👣 I enjoy exploring the Lake District and going on walks with my partner in crime, Alfie 🐶❤️

📚 Reading 📚 I find there is nothing better after a stressful day then escaping into another world for a few hours. My favourite book is Alice in Wonderland for that very reason. The most recent book I have read is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid which I highly recommend! ☺️"

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #MentalHealth #Mindfulness #BeKindToYourself #SelfCare #Cumbria

💙 Mental Health Awareness Week 💙

For Mental Health Awareness Week, we are thinking about Loneliness 💭

Loneliness is a feeling that we all can experience at some point, opening up and sharing your thoughts and feelings can help break down barriers for us to have open conversations about our mental health 🗣️🧠

Kirsty from Hello Future has shared her experience of feeling lonely during Lockdown 💙

"With this year's Mental Health Awareness Week theme being loneliness, it got me thinking back to December 2021. With the reintroduction of the work from home guidance, I would go days without speaking to anyone (apart from virtual work meetings). I started to experience feeling really lonely. I tried to think of ways I could meet people as I had only recently moved back to Cumbria after living away for several years. I am an avid reader so I decided a book club could be a good option. I wasn't able to find a local book club that I felt would be the right fit so I decided to reach out to a friend, who also loves reading, to see whether they would be interested in starting a book club with me. Fast forward to April 2022, we have launched our book club @bookwithabrewcarlisle on social media receiving a positive response and Waterstones reached out to host the group. Our first meeting is happening in May with monthly meetings following. It is very exciting ☺️"

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek2022 #MentalHealthAwarenessWeekLoneliness #Loneliness #MentalHealth #MentalHealthMatters #Growth #Mindfulness #MindMatters #Cumbria

💙 Mental Health Awareness Week 💙

Kirsty at Hello Future has shared her Mental Health experience with you

Let's start breaking down barriers and talking about how we really feel 🗣️

"Like many people during Lockdown, I decided to get fit and lose weight at the beginning of 2021 (New Year, New Me sort of thing). I started running 3 times per week, working out 3 times per week, and changing my diet. Over the course of three months, I reached my target weight. However, I couldn't allow my mindset to change from losing weight to maintaining weight. Over the following months, I became significantly underweight leading to many issues, such as body weakness. Much of this weight loss was due to my mental health. I had become unhappy in elements of my life and exercise/food became something I could control. I became obsessed with weighing myself and I would prevent myself from eating certain things or certain portion sizes (it became a devil on your shoulder situation). If I did allow myself, I would obsess over it for a long time resulting in making myself eat less food later and doing several workouts. It reached the point I had to consult a doctor which I did frequently for several months. In order to become better I realised I needed a change, so I ended up changing jobs and moving back home to be closer to family. Over several months, I have managed to build myself back to a healthy weight and I am currently working on a 'listen to my body' mindset for food and exercise. I am by no means completely better; I still have the same thoughts and food issues, which can at times consume my mind, and I recently was falling back in to constantly weighing myself. I have now stored away the scales and fight those thoughts telling me not to eat. Fortunately, I have great friends around me who are supportive and understanding in helping me gain the skills to battle these thoughts."

Looking for help after school or college? Want to explore your options? Need some extra advice to get you on the right track? Sign up for free on our website and get support to help you plan your next steps! ...

⭐ Societies ⭐

If you are thinking about joining a Society, or if it is something you are interested to get involved in when you get to University, I have shared some thoughts and ideas with you 💙

We will be holding a Q&A on our stories later today to give you a chance to get answers to any questions that you might have! ☺️

#AskHannah #AmbassadorSeries #MentalHealth #Societies #MentalHealthAwareness #MentalHealthAwarenessWeekLoneliness #Cumbria