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Future Proof: The Somerville Covid Hardship Fund

A project by: Somerville College


WE RAISED £127,467

from 387 donors

This project received pledges on Sat 31 Oct 2020

Preparing for a new academic year in the time of covid-19

'2020 is a year we will all remember. Already it has shown us the resilience of our community – its courage, its empathy, its ingenuity. But now we face an enormous challenge, as we look to deal with the economic impact of COVID-19. As always, our first priority is our students and how we can preserve their academic and emotional wellbeing.  We must ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t create additional barriers for young people seeking access to education, whether financial or otherwise.  Somerville must, above all, always provide a safe environment where students from all backgrounds can think, flourish and fulfil their potential. 

I invite you to join together to help protect what we all know is special about Somerville'.

Jan Royall, Principal

 A new Covid-19 Hardship Fund

Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends, as well as sound financial management, the College is now in a secure position to weather the difficulties ahead. However, we estimate that a minimum of £200,000 will be needed to help Somerville meet the additional costs incurred by the impact of the pandemic. Of this amount we hope to raise £100,000 through community efforts on this platform. 

To this end, we are launching this appeal for the COVID-19 Hardship Fund. 

This crowdfunding appeal is to help support Somervillians in Oxford adversely affected by the pandemic. As you can imagine, the COVID-19 has deeply affected their ability to pursue their academic studies uninterrupted. For months, our students have waited to gain access to the spaces and resources necessary for them to make progress on their research. Others have had to contend with the challenges of working from home – often in very difficult circumstances and without ready access to the technology required to support their studies. 

During that period, we took immediate steps to assist those students – and now we must continue that work. Some of our students have families who have experienced unexpected loss of income due to the current situation. Others we are helping with subsidised accommodation or by supporting overseas students during their quarantine period. 

Many of you will know that we have honoured all the offers we made to those affected by the A Level debacle over the summer.  This was absolutely the right thing to do.  However, you will understand that with this comes an incremental cost as we meet the challenge of welcoming a larger cohort while also implementing those measures necessary to keeping our community safe.  And, of course, we are also busy finding ways to ensure that all students can enjoy as much of the classic Oxford experience as we can safely provide through alternative facilities.  If you want to see more details about the associated costs of supporting our Somerville community through this time, please read the Treasurer’s statement here.  

Fabio Rossi (JCR President): "Students throughout the country, and at Somerville College, have had their last 6 months upended by this virus, as has the world. One of the many negative impacts this has had is on student income; summer jobs and out of term employment form the backbone of a lot of students' finances, but this year, students have lost jobs, are working reduced hours or have had family members laid off and made redundant. This is an incredibly challenging time for students financially, and any support we could raise to help them at this time would be hugely appreciated by every student here at Somerville

For example, this fundraising effort  will help further subsidise the food supplied during any required self-isolation period, making it more affordable for students, as well as supporting other Covid related costs, so students can try and focus on their studies without having to worry about their finances too much. From myself, and every member of the JCR here at Somerville, thank you for helping this amazing cause, we really appreciate it! "

Bahar Kashef Hamadani (DPhil Clinical Medicine, 2018): "Many students have unique field work plans as a core component of their DPhil research in cities, villages, and forests across the world. Given the extraordinary situation, field work plans have been delayed to ensure that the health of neither the researchers nor of the stakeholders involved in their research is compromised, in turn leading to delay in the completion of their DPhil projects. Even for those who do not have a field work component, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions because of no access to archival data, physical resources, and libraries, as well as travel complexities.COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted BAME communities both in terms of public health and economic fallout. The COVID-19 hardship fund will help all students, including BAME students, at Somerville secure further access to critical resources like the college counselling service or provide financial hardship support to students who have faced the loss of familial or personal funds due to COVID-19".


how you can help!

Please donate to help our Somerville students and community affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Your donation will make a difference where it matters, enabling some of the hardest hit Somervillians to continue their important studies and research.    

We are delighted to announce that the first batch of matched funding has now been unlocked. Thanks to several more matched fund alumni donors, we now have a further £30,150 in Matched Funding, so if you haven't made your gift yet, yours can still be matched! We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Matching Fund donors for their support of the College and our students in this way. 

Further to making a donation which we hugely appreciate, you can also support our students by spreading the word and sharing this project with anyone who you think will be interested.  

Please donate by clicking the ‘sponsor’ button where you can make a gift by credit/debit card.

If you would like to make a tax efficient gift from the USA, please visit the Americans For Oxford website (https://www.oxfordna.org/donate) and select Somerville College. There will be an option to add a reference, which should be ‘Covid-19 Hardship Fund’, we can then allocate it towards this campaign appropriately.  Do let us know the amount you have given so we can add it to the running total!

Everything that we do now will help equip our students for whatever uncertainties they may face now and after their time at Oxford. Please make a difference to a young person’s education in these uncertain times. Thank you.   

Find us online

To read more about Somerville, visit us on our website. We also have a College Facebook page, Twitter page, and LinkedIn page, which updates regularly.