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The Footsteps Fund

Watch the video where recipients of Footsteps Fund support talk about the difference this has made to their studies at Leeds

The Footsteps Fund

The Footsteps Fund was founded on the principle that all outstanding students should have the opportunity to benefit from, and make the most of, their experience at Leeds, regardless of their background.

Supported by alumni and friends of the University, the fund supports initiatives that enhance the student experience and provides scholarships to hundreds of students annually to enable them to take up their hard earned place.

Since 2004, more than 15,000 people have donated a total of over £6 million through Footsteps Fund appeals and during telephone calls with current students on campus.

Donations to the Footsteps Fund have an invaluable impact on our current students and the wider community:

  • Student Scholarships are funded by alumni donations to the Footsteps Fund. These scholarships are worth £3,000 each year for undergraduate students with 3 As at A level, who might not have been able to take up their place without financial support. Footsteps Fund donations also provide support for students who fall into financial difficulties while they’re at Leeds.
  • Leeds Masters Scholarships are worth £5,000 and enable students whose financial circumstances would otherwise prevent them from studying at a postgraduate level. Alumni donations enable students to equip themselves to excel in an economy that is becoming progressively more competitive, and able to take advantage of potential career opportunities.
  • The Leeds for Life programme equips students with the skills they need for life beyond Leeds. But for some students, taking part in extra-curricular and voluntary activities requires money they just don’t have. The Leeds for Life grants level the playing field for those students; even though they may not have the financial support available to them, they can still undertake projects which will be developmental for them and beneficial to the community.
  • Another great example of how your support impacts the lives of our students is our hugely successful Lifestyle & Wellbeing Programme. Created to support students who for varying reasons attend student counselling, this is a collaborative project between the Student Counselling Centre and Sport & Physical Activity takes a holistic approach to wellbeing, focusing on both physical and mental health. In 2018-19, thanks to this support, 183 students accessed the programme.

Footsteps Fund donations also support campus development to ensure current and future Leeds students have the best facilities available:

  • In 2015 the Laidlaw Library opened; designed for the needs of 21st century learning, it includes a wall of thanks representing over 2,300 supporters.
  • The Footsteps Fund supported the Union Upgrade to improve the facilities which have been at the heart of student life for generations.
  • Each year the Footsteps Fund also supports Union Clubs & Societies. Recently donations allowed members of LUU Mantality Society to attend a retreat where they were able to create positive change in their mental health and well-being.

The fund also helps our world-class researchers take the next vital steps towards extraordinary discoveries:

  • Footsteps Fund donations have supported new approaches towards the link between Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes, and have helped to appoint a new PhD student who will investigate this potentially deadly combination of diseases.
  • Donations have also supported pioneering Brain Cancer research, investigating the use of an oncolytic virus which can be injected into patients to target and kill brain cancer cells.
  • In 2018 alumni and friends of the university supported incredible Microbubble research into using tiny bubbles as a drug delivery device to treat cancer and other serious diseases.

The fund also makes grants to students, to help them bring their imaginative projects to life, such as the Writing Back programme, which connected lonely and elderly people with penpals.


By including a gift to the University in your Will, you could help us to nurture the people, generate the ideas and make the discoveries that will change our world for the better. To find out more about this very special way of supporting the University’s work, click here.

Donors’ words of wisdom

BeermatTake a look at the Words of Wisdom which fellow Leeds alumni left for current and future students. These messages formed part of the Footsteps Fund’s annual scholarships fundraising appeal in 2016 and were placed around campus for students to benefit from the knowledge of our alumni.


Making a World of Difference


Heart disease and diabetes

Footsteps Fund Call Team

Brain Cancer Research

Zero tolerance to sexual harassment

Ben Kew

Describing himself as a formerly obese teenager, Ben Kew (Food Science 2019) tells how a Footsteps Fund scholarship enabled him to change his life.

Leeds to New York

Donations to the Footsteps Fund allowed a diverse group of Leeds students to meet business and civic leaders and University alumni in Leeds and New York as they tackled the question of "What makes a Smart City?".

Rowing Club

Dan Grant, Head of Rowing at the University of Leeds, talks about the support which the rowing club received through the Footsteps Fund - and how the new boathouse on the Aire and Calder Navigation in South Leeds is helping the club to achieve new heights and involve more students in the sport.

Professor Mark Kearney

Mark Kearney, Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leeds talks about the support his department received from Footsteps Fund Donors, and how this has allowed him to appoint a new PhD student to research links between cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Bhavisha Kukadia

Bhavisha has received two scholarships - a Centenary Alumni Scholarship funded by Roger Marsh (Metallurgy 1976), and an Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship funded by Irvine Laidlaw (Economics 1963). Here she talks about how her research has allowed her to experience interdisciplinary working - and explains the value which your gifts can make to a student’s time both at Leeds and beyond.

Community film-making

A group of Leeds students made this film before heading out to South Africa on an international development project, supported by the Footsteps Fund. Their project is working to engage with disadvantaged young people in Johannesburg through the medium of video, while the Leeds students gain leadership skills and develop their understanding of their place in a global community.

Samuel Taylor

Sociology student Samuel Taylor received support from the Footsteps Fund to enable him to spend a year's placement working with the mental health charity Mind. Here he talks about the benefits which this brought to his own time at University and why he is now a member of the fund's call team, working to bring the same experiences to others.

Thomas Goodfellow

Tom always dreamed of studying Aerospace Engineering - he loved the idea of sending something into space! But because he thought jobs in that field were scarce, he didn’t apply for it straight away. Funded by Footsteps Fund donors, a Centenary Alumni Scholarship gave Tom the confidence to take a risk, and apply for the course he really wanted.

Browse the project brochure

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