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COVID-19 Emergency Appeal

A direct appeal for support from Hughes Hall President, Dr. Anthony Freeling.

Dear Hughesian,

Cambridge has returned to work following the Easter break, with teaching and supervisions operating online.  It is a brave new world for us, as I am sure it is for you in whatever way the current global pandemic has impacted you, your family and your community.

I sincerely hope you and your families are safe and well. There are too many heart-breaking stories of loss and despair.  There are also inspiring reports of Hughesians making a difference in the fight against COVID19 – a real testament to the spirit and character of our community.  We will continue to report these in the college’s social media feed and on our website. 

I am writing to make an exceptional appeal for support for our students.

At Hughes Hall, we too are adapting to the unparalleled circumstances the world finds itself in.  Although teaching may be online, around 240 Hughes students remain resident in Cambridge, with the rest of our student body now residing in their homes around the world.  Of these 240, around 90 are on the main site, 60 in college owned houses, and the remainder in private accommodation. At the last check, none of those students are in individual or household-isolation and there is much more activity in and around college than you may have realised. The MCR leadership, the senior management team, the college nurse, the porters and on-site college employees all contribute to looking after the well-being of our community in Cambridge, whilst much is also being done to support those not currently living in the city. 

We are now turning our attentions towards the recovery phase. Our challenges over the next few months are considerable.  Students are encountering financial hardship on a scale never seen before and we must support student mental health, both those in college under lockdown and those trying to work from home in less than ideal circumstances.  Academic support to disabled and other students with online learning and preparing for remote assessments require a significant adjustment in the college’s capabilities for both technical and pastoral support.

Students have lost valuable research time through lab and library closures.  Some face being unable to complete their research.  Others have been plunged into financial hardship when they or their partner have lost part-time jobs on which they depend to sustain their studies and their families.  

In our effort to mitigate student hardship, the financial impact on the college has been considerable, approaching £1 million as of the end of April.

A generous alumnus, (2001 Part III, Mathematics), has contributed over £100,000 in our hour of need. He has made it clear that he hopes his leadership will inspire others to do whatever they can. 

If we can raise another £100,000 with the support of our 10,000 strong alumni community worldwide, we can make a significant difference

We know that not everyone can support us, but if you are in a position to help, would you consider making an exceptional donation to help our students through the current crisis. 

Every gift we receive from a new donor to the Collegiate University will be matched thanks to the Harding Challenge Fund, which means Hughes Hall will receive additional funding in support of our mature undergraduates.

Gifts to our 2020 Emergency Fund can be made online here and more information on making a donation from the USA, Hong Kong or by direct bank transfer can be found below.

The Alumni Relations and Development Office will be glad to provide further information or answer any questions you might have. Please contact William Conner at development.director@hughes.cam.ac.uk.

Hughes Hall has shown our strength as a community in the first few weeks of this crisis. Individuals have stepped up, often well beyond what might reasonably have been expected. I thank them for this from the bottom of my heart. I am confident, whatever the next few months will bring, that we shall navigate the ups and downs as well. Your generosity will have a direct and meaningful impact on our student community. 

With all best wishes – please keep safe and well.

Dr. Anthony Freeling
President, Hughes Hall