ENTREPRENEUR Graham Leslie has added his support to a scheme helping students of the future.
The former Huddersfield Town chairman, whose business interests include pharmaceuticals, construction, baby products, media and healthcare, has pledged to match pound for pound cash raised by the University of Huddersfield new scholarship scheme.
Launched earlier this month, the scheme, which is the brainchild of University vice-chancellor Bob Cryan, aimed to create a pot of more than £100,000 to ensure young people from disadvantaged backgrounds can still attend university when the new student fee scheme comes in 2012.
With Mr Leslie's input that could now double to £200,000.
Prof Cryan's initial plan means every £1 donation to the fund is transformed into £10.
When a £1 donation is made, Prof Cryan personally matches it - and now so will Mr Leslie.
Gift Aid increases this and until the end of July, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will match this.
This sum then attracts matching funding from the Government’s National Scholarship Programme – making a total of £10.
Mr Leslie, who has recently returned from a honeymoon in the Galapagos Islands, said the pledge was a “natural progression”.
“I have been involved with the university for four years now, supporting them in the business school and through mentoring. It is all about giving something back to the community,” he said.
Mr Leslie jointly owns seven companies with an annual turnover of £35m. The father-of-four also has six grandchildren, including four grandsons living in the Huddersfield area.
He said he hoped they would all go on to benefit from higher education maybe at Huddersfield University.
The scheme, backed by the Students Union, will be used to provide scholarships and bursaries to students from poorer backgrounds.
Vice-chancellor Prof Bob Cryan said he was delighted with support for the innovative scholarship fund.
“I am concerned that the forced increase in tuition fees will deny some of our students opportunity of having the life changing experience that we and so many others have enjoyed.
“I appreciate that domestic budgets are very tight, so that is why I figured out this way of maximising the impact of staff and student donations to the fund.”