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July 8th 2019

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The St Hugh’s Coast Run has begun!

Outreach Officer Lena Sorochina has begun her 130km run, a five-day tour in which she will visit secondary and primary schools along the Kent coast, running from stop to stop and giving talks to pupils about higher education, university life, and applying to Oxford, before racing off to the next school.

Lena said: “I hope that this tour will inspire children and young people to be ambitious and aim high, to realise that anything is within their reach if they put their minds to it. I hope that it will encourage them to consider going to university as not only an achievable, but a fun future destination. This project also highlights the benefits of sport for physical and mental wellbeing.”

The Charles Dickens School, Broadstairs, one of the many schools who’ve signed up to the project. Mr Dan Shepperson, Head of Year 8, said: “We are very interested in breaking down the barriers pupils face in going to university, especially the top-ranked universities in the country. Increasing the contact pupils have with universities is a great way to raise the aspirations of our pupils. The coast run is a way of inspiring our pupils, allowing them to see a different side of Oxford University.”

The Principal of St Hugh’s College, the Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC FRSE, said: “We’re so pleased that Lena is bringing Oxford to so many school pupils across Kent, and in such a novel way. So many who would thrive at Oxford and other universities don’t consider applying. Our message is loud and clear: we want the best students from every background to consider coming to Oxford to study.”

Lena will be running from Camber Sands to Whitstable, between 8th and 12th July.

The St Hugh’s Coast Run will go through New Romney, Dymchurch, Hythe, Folkestone, Dover, Sandwich, Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate, Westgate-on-Sea, Birchington and Herne Bay.

Schools signed-up so far include the Marsh Academy, Brockhill Park Performing Arts College, the Harvey Grammar School, Sandgate Primary School, the Royal Harbour Academy, the Charles Dickens School, Hartsdown Academy, the Whitstable School.

The distance to be covered in the St Hugh’s Coast Run is more than three marathons.

Research from the Bridge Group published in February 2019 found a “stark contrast between the widening participation and outreach activities that exist in London” and other parts of the country. They concluded that there was “a backdrop of highly unequal access to cultural enrichment and outreach for students” depending on where they lived. This is why St Hugh’s wants to bring Oxford University to the Kent coast.

For media requests please contact Ben Jones on Communications.Manager@st-hughs.ox.ac.uk.

Photo credit: Sophie Cheng.

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