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The College is delighted to announce the award, providing essential financial and academic support for talented disadvantaged Year 13 students

Lucy Cavendish is dedicated to providing opportunities for exceptional students who come from marginalised and under-served communities so that they can learn and research at the highest levels.

The ‘digital divide’ is a very real impediment preventing talented young people from pursuing a university place. Their background often means they don’t even think about making an Oxbridge application – even though they have the potential to do so. And many of the books which can make a positive difference to a pupil’s academic outcomes are not actually digitised. The cost of books on the ‘required pre-reading’ list can be well beyond the means of low-income families or students in care. Yet arriving at Cambridge having fulfilled this study requirement gives incoming students the self-confidence, as well as the knowledge base, to make a successful start in their first year without feeling they are already at a disadvantage and ‘behind’ others on the same course.

The generous donation received by SDC Builders will help establish a loan collection of academic books for offer-holders in Year 13 to improve their A Level grades and their likelihood of meeting the Cambridge entry requirement of A*A*A or A*AA. The books will also be those which are ‘required reading’ over the summer for students before they start their Cambridge course. By helping to establish a free loan/lending system, operated professionally by the College’s Library, the donation will benefit up to 140 students a year every year.

We have successfully trialled a limited free loan service of two books this summer to 30 offer-holders who were most in need of financial and academic support.

One of the recipients said: “As someone who wouldn’t have easily had the funds to buy these books, I would like to express how much I appreciate this! I am looking forward to attending the College and the Library.

SDC commented: “SDC is at its core a family business where people come first, this approach is what led us to set up the SDC charity fund. The fund contributes to good causes that are linked to either our business activities or our staff and so this opportunity to support Lucy Cavendish College was entirely in keeping with the fund’s intent.  We are delighted to be able to help and hope the donation leads to the students involved realising their full potential at Cambridge”

The award will allow us to scale up the loan service in order to provide appropriate key (text) books to many more talented pupils in Year 13 who come from non-traditional or under-represented backgrounds.

It will also be crucial for the renewed College mission. The aim is to double student numbers and be broadly representative of UK society in the composition of our UK student body by 2025-2026, significantly increasing diversity for the whole University and spear-heading widening access at both undergraduate and graduate levels across the institution.

To house our growing number of students the College decided to expand its capacity in various ways, including, crucially, facilities and accommodation. Works on our new eco-friendly, accessible and future-proof building started earlier this year.

About SDC Builders

SDC is Lucy Cavendish College main contractor for the first phase of our new Passivhaus development.

A leading construction company, SDC works collaboratively to deliver high quality buildings and operates as an Employee Benefit Trust. They undertake projects across a variety of construction sectors, including Research and Development, Commercial, Manufacturing, Automotive, Healthcare, and Education.