Back to all news
Written by:
Kathryn Martin-Chambers
16 Feb 2021

The Harding Challenge was created in 2019 as part of the transformational gift from David and Claudia Harding to the University and St Catharine’s College. It is the first Collegiate-wide matching scheme of its kind in Cambridge’s history. Funds raised will support students across the entire University Collegiate community who need it the most.

Trinity Hall’s first Giving Day in November 2020 raised funds to help students during the College’s 670th year. “Give TogeTHer” was a huge success raising more than £340,000. As a key focus of the giving day was student support, the Harding Challenge featured prominently in communications. As a result, 129 first-time donors and 158 eligible lapsed donors were inspired to give. This has made a difference to undergraduates and postgraduates at Trinity Hall and enabled more than £82,000 to be unlocked from the Harding Challenge and transferred into an intercollegiate fund to support those students in greatest need.

James Jamison (Trinity Hall, 2008), a donor to the Giving Day, was inspired by the opportunity to double the impact of his gift: 

“As an undergraduate from a modest background, I greatly appreciated the opportunities and support Trinity Hall gave me, which have made a pivotal difference to my life. So when I read about the Harding Challenge I knew it was the perfect opportunity to become a new donor and contribute something back. Gifts are targeted to financial support for undergraduates, which is exactly what I want, and there is the bonus of knowing the value will be matched pound-for-pound thanks to the Hardings’ generosity and vision. I feel that this scheme is helping nudge the university in the direction of a more inclusive future.”

The funds unlocked by generous donations eligible for the Harding Challenge have already been put into action. Across collegiate Cambridge more than 200 first-year students facing challenging financial circumstances have been given a grant to assist with purchasing necessary resources and equipment. Given that the majority of their university studies so far have been online, the need for reliable technology has never been so important.

Due to the new technological demands in the current academic year, the University of Cambridge created the ‘Digital Gateway Grants’ scheme through the money released by the Harding Challenge. The scheme was designed to help Freshers from disadvantaged backgrounds buy the necessary equipment for remote studying for Michaelmas term and beyond. First year undergraduates who were formerly on free school meals are eligible for Digital Gateway Grants of up to £1,000. These grants can then be used for the purchase of laptops, webcams and/or noise-cancelling headphones.

A Trinity Hall undergraduate who benefitted from the Digital Gateway Grant said: “The Digital Gateway Grant was enormously beneficial in allowing me to purchase a laptop for university. It has meant I have not had to worry about both a slow processor and a lack of storage; which would have otherwise added additional unnecessary stress during a busy Cambridge year. I am forever grateful for this, as I am now one step closer to achieving my goals”.

The eligibility criteria have been expanded such that anyone giving to student support who has not made a donation to collegiate Cambridge in the past two financial years is eligible. Making a donation to student support at Trinity Hall this year, will unlock further funding and double the impact of your gift.

Your donation to College student support will benefit not only students at Trinity Hall but also undergraduates in greatest need across Cambridge, enabling us to do more for them than ever before. It will in turn inspire others.

Take advantage of the Harding Challenge now, and multiply the power of your donation by giving to student support at Trinity Hall:

Find out more about the Harding Challenge on the University website.

Original story on the University website

Photo credit: Ihsan Aslam (Sir Cam)