Inspire2INVOLVE is a joint initiative between Downing College and Villiers Park that is targeted at high academic potential Year 12 students from less-advantaged backgrounds in the Plymouth area.  It aims to work closely with schools to raise aspirations and encourage academic success for this group of A-level students. The project in part of a portfolio of outreach activities the College offers to students in our Area Link Scheme regions of Cornwall, Devon, Plymouth, Torbey, Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole. 

The Inspire2INVOLVE programme is fully funded and there is no cost to schools or students to participate.

The key focus is supporting students with the development of their self-esteem, aspirations, study skills, life skills, attainment and to encourage them to consider studying at a high tariff university.  We also hope to raise awareness of the University of Cambridge and strive to encourage applications from students from this area.

Download the Inspire2INVOLVE programme.

Programme Elements

Places on the programme are sponsored by Downing College and enable students to participate, at no charge, in two main elements - both of which are recognised by UCAS as 'Preparation for HE' on university applications:

  • Inspire - attendance at a week-long subject specific residential course at Villiers Park Educational Trust's Centre in Foxton, near Cambridge.
  • INVOLVE - offering participating students the opportunity to imagine, develop and deliver a student-led educational project that benefits their school community, gaining themselves an INVOLVE award.

The Partners

Downing College is committed to enabling bright but disadvantaged students from under-represented backgrounds to fulfil their academic potential and maximise their options for higher education.

As part of the area link scheme, which pairs each Cambridge University College with local authority regions, Downing has since 2000 worked closely with schools in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

Villiers Park Educational Trust is a social mobility charity based in Foxton, near Cambridge, and has over 50 years' experience of helping young people reach their full academic potential.  Nationwide its work includes a range of linked programmes to support the young people we work with, such as Scholars Programme, Inspiring Excellence Programme and INVOLVE.

The charity has supported thousands of young people in success at school and university and on to a career of their choice, with a long-standing track record of working with high ability post-16 students and contributing towards closing the gap between less-advantaged students and their peers.


Dr Kamran Yunus, Downing College Admissions Tutor  |

Matt Diston, Villiers Park Educational Trust, Assistant Programme Director  |