31 May 2023

The event celebrated the University’s unique relationship with QHT as well as the funding provided to a diverse array of projects at Westminster. Trustees had the chance to network with student and staff beneficiaries and hear first-hand about the difference that their generous support has made.
QHT Trustees, students, project leads and governors had the chance to interact and better understand the development taken place over the past year. Some of the projects on display have received QHT funding for several years, highlighting the impact made over an extended period of time, while the new initiatives featured future plans and strategies. 

The celebration opened with a speech by Professor Peter Bonfield OBE, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Westminster, who spoke about the unique position of the Trust as a grant maker. Speeches were also held by Dr Ann Rumpus, Chair of QHT Grants Committee; and Bella Thompson, Westminster Working Cultures (WWC) Student Participant, who talked about the impact that the WWC scheme had on her University experience.

The Vice-Cancellor said: “Through the stewardship of Bill Weston Trustee and the committee that Dr Ann Rumpus runs, Quintin Hogg Trust money is invested in projects, topics and areas that are really important for our University, all of which have relevance to our students. We are all about our students, about finding ways of doing things that support them, be it scholarly endeavours, making friends, bringing energy, or making the world a better place. The Trust’s funding allows us to take risks, be creative and do things that make a real difference.”

Projects on show included Community and Communities, which aims to strengthen the University’s Equality Diversity and inclusion (EDI) offering. 

The popular Westminster Working Cultures (WWC) programme, which enhances the employability of Westminster undergraduate students offering free short-term mobility opportunities worldwide and locally, and the impactful Democratic Education Network (DEN), which aims to build on the diversity of students at the University to further encourage democratic engagement through a collective approach to education, recognition and collaborative working, were also celebrated. 

The UniVRse project, a VR programme co-designed with students combining cutting-edge technology with cognitive behavioural techniques to help students feel more confident, and the Re-Imagining Coral Reefs, a VR Design Summer School inviting students to contribute to an immersive VR installation about the vital climate science of coral reef restoration, were also featured. 

Attendants could learn more about The Green Fund, by the University’s Centre for Education and Teaching Innovation (CETI) and Sustainability Team, which provides students with the opportunity to carry out sustainability-related projects. 

The Cavendish Living Lab, providing opportunities for students to build on sustainable solutions using AI-based and data-driven methods against global contemporary challenges, was also represented, amongst many more.

Talking about the celebratory event, Dr Ann Rumpus, Chair of the QHT Grants Committee, said: “The Trustees were most impressed by the celebration event, and greatly enjoyed it. They found that meeting the people involved in the projects face-to-face really brought them to life. Both staff and students were positive, energetic, and enthusiastic, and the Trustees all felt that the event had fully demonstrated how valuable the funding was. The Trustees are very grateful to the University for providing such an enlightening occasion."

The QHT has recently announced that they will support new bids commencing in August 2023 to a total sum of £5.5 million over the next three academic years. The funding will enable the development of projects in areas such as employability, research and knowledge exchange, learning and teaching, equality, diversity and inclusion, wellbeing and student experience.

Talking about the funding announcement, Marius Brodeala, Development and Fundraising Project Manager, said: “I am very grateful to the Quintin Hogg Trust for the approval of funding for projects commencing next academic year. This grant will enable our colleagues to accelerate their project work across several important areas of the University, including employability, learning and teaching, and wellbeing, all of which will positively impact our students and their experience at Westminster. Thank you to all the Trustees at the Quintin Hogg Trust for their continued support of our institution.”

Dr Ann Rumpus said: “The Trustees are pleased to have recently awarded a grant of over £5.5m for projects starting next year. These encompass an exciting range of new initiatives, including the development of new curriculum models, linked to learning through consultancy, the enhancement of tutorial support, and the development of new approaches to working with the wider community in using performance spaces in the University. The Trustees are delighted to continue to support the foresight, innovation and dedication to student support, education and employability encompassed in the projects.”

Find out more about the work of the Quintin Hogg Trust on their website.