New gift to support student mental health and wellbeing at Cambridge
Sidney Sussex College will enhance pastoral care and support for students with a new Head of Student Wellbeing
Prakash Melwani (Sidney Sussex, 1977, and Cambridge in America Board member) and his wife, Anjali, have made a gift of £1million to enrich and improve the quality of student life at the College for undergraduates and postgraduates alike.
Motivated by their concern about the increased pressure on young people and its impact on their mental wellbeing, their generosity will fully support an over-arching programme for student mental health at Sidney Sussex College. Dr Thérèse Allan will join Sidney as Head of Student Wellbeing in September, 2021, where she will lead an ambitious and comprehensive review of Sidney’s wellbeing provision, trial innovative programmes, encourage and coordinate student-led activities, and enhance traditional approaches to pastoral care.
Sidney is enormously grateful to Prakash and Anjali for their wonderful benefaction and looks forward to working closely in collaboration with the University’s Head of Student Wellbeing, Natalie Acton, on this important project. The College very much hopes the wider Collegiate University can also benefit.
Master of Sidney Sussex, Professor Richard Penty, commented: “This marvellous gift from Prakash and Anjali Melwani will have a deep and transformational impact on the wellbeing of current and future members of the College. Even before the pandemic began, it was clear to us in Sidney that we needed to do more to improve the mental health and wellbeing of our students and the appointment of Thérèse Allan and the programme she will develop will allow us to achieve this. None of this would have been possible without the wonderful generosity shown by the Melwanis.”
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen J Toope, said: “Prakash and Anjali Melwani recognised that this is a crucial moment for investment in the wellbeing of our students and we are deeply grateful. Their generosity has directly enabled us to improve the study experience of our students, not just at Sidney Sussex but across all Colleges. As the pandemic continues, in tandem with the myriad challenges of modern society, Prakash and Anjali’s philanthropy is inspirational.”
The University's Head of Student Wellbeing, Natalie Acton, added: “Across the Collegiate University, there is significant momentum behind a vision to be not only a place of excellent learning opportunity, but a place where stigma surrounding mental health is broken and where effective means of promoting and increasing wellbeing are proven. I am in awe of this donation, the shared vision of the donors towards these aims, and their eagerness to take action for Cambridge and for wider society.”
Adapted from a news story published by Sidney Sussex