New principal of Homerton College, Cambridge, pledges to fund Bursaries for disadvantaged students


The outgoing Operation Black Vote Director, and new principal of Homerton College, Cambridge, is to fund bursaries for disadvantaged students.

Lord Woolley has pledged to support two full bursaries for disadvantaged students at Homerton College, Cambridge, as he takes up his role as Principal of the College.

The equalities campaigner and cross-bench peer, who will become the first Black man to lead a College at Cambridge or Oxford, will fund two full bursaries at Homerton each year.

Cambridge Bursaries are awarded on a sliding scale according to household income. The standard full bursary is £3,500, and additional help is available for students in especial need.

Bursaries, which are non-repayable, provide students from low-income families with funds to meet their living costs and participate fully in Cambridge life. Lord Woolley views his contribution as a reflection of his determination to help students from all backgrounds to benefit from the opportunities offered by Homerton.

Lord Woolley said:

 “The Cambridge Bursary Scheme is a brilliant way to help level the playing field for disadvantaged students, and I want my donation to Homerton to be a signal to all those – Black kids, white working-class kids, the Traveller community, council house kids like me – who might worry about the cost of university, to say that there is help available.”

“I want to invite alumni, businesses, philanthropists to join me in making sure that lack of funds isn’t a barrier to talented students.

“I feel enormously honoured and humbled to have such a fantastic role at this wonderful College. Its mission for academic excellence, along with embracing diversity, is a combination for great success not just for the students but for wider society too. As I will be asking others to support us on this great journey, I think it’s right that I lead by example.”

Lord Woolley will be installed as Principal on Friday, 1 October 2021.

Notes for editors:

  1. Simon Woolley, Lord Woolley of Woodford, is the Founding Director of Operation Black Vote, the internationally renowned campaigning NGO which he launched in 1996. OBV works with ethnic minorities in the UK to increase understanding of civic society, participation in Parliament and public life, and to promote equality and human rights.
  2. Lord Woolley was appointed by Prime Minister Theresa May to create and lead the UK Government’s pioneering Race Disparity Unit. The Unit collects, analyses and publishes data on how crime, education and health are affected by ethnicity.
  3. Simon Woolley was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2019 and was created a life peer in December of the same year. He sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.
  4. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Westminster in 2012, and in September 2021 received the Lifetime Achiever Award at the National Diversity Awards. 
  5. Homerton is Cambridge’s biggest College by student number. 
  6. Homerton was founded in 1768 in Homerton High Street in London, and moved to Cambridge in 1894.
  7. Once a renowned teacher training college, Homerton now has students and Fellows in subjects across all academic disciplines.
  8. More information about the Cambridge Bursary Scheme is available here:

For further information please contact:

Laura Kenworthy, External Communications Manager, Homerton College