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Ignite Your Success

Ignite Your Success enables undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to make the most of their studies.

If you have any questions about Ignite Your Success please get in touch.

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The Widening Participation and Social Mobility Directorate at the University of Southampton is delighted to offer our unique undergraduate programme Ignite Your Success.

This extensive 3-year, Alumni funded programme is available to students from underrepresented backgrounds and offers a blend of financial, academic, career, and personal opportunities to ensure you reach your full potential.

Key elements of the programme include structured outcome-based workshops, tailored mentoring schemes, guaranteed internships and dedicated pastoral support, all underpinned by a range of £3,000 awards & £10,000 bursaries.

The programme maximises your university experience by supporting you to:


Alongside Ignite Staff, content is delivered by a range of contributors, including key University of Southampton Alumni from underrepresented backgrounds. The programme includes representation from current students and recent graduates, many of whom are from a widening participation background.

Members of University of Southampton's Professional Services, such as the Careers, Employability and Student Enterprise Service, Academic Skills Service, and the Student Wellbeing Team are also involved to enrich the programme and provide relevant and engaging context on the wider support available.

Ignite Your Success offers a combination of financial, academic and personal opportunities to ensure students from underrepresented backgrounds can focus on their studies and reach their full potential. 

The Ignite Programme has been made possible thanks to generous donations of university alumni and supporters.

Financial Support

A number of £3,000 awards and £10,000 bursaries are available across 3 years of study to support students from underrepresented backgrounds, so you can focus on your studies.

Bursary Details
To those receiving the Ignite Your Success Bursary from 23/24, they will be awarded £10,000 over 3 years of study, as follows:

Year of StudyBursary Amount
Year 01 £3,300
Year 02 £3,300
Year 03 £3,400

Award Details
To those receiving the Ignite Your Success Award from 23/24, they will be awarded £3,000 over 3 years of study, as follows:

Year of StudyAward Amount
Year 01 £1,000
Year 02 £1,000
Year 03 £1,000


Bursary and Award payments are split into three instalments each academic year. Payment dates will be confirmed at the start of each academic year to bursary and award recipients.

1:1 Support

Ignite Coordinators provide a dedicated point of contact for all Ignite Your Success students.

They can provide information, guidance and support as well as offering regular catch ups with students throughout the year.

Ignite also hold informal monthly drop-ins during term time.


You will take part in a series of exclusive workshops designed to support and empower you to make the absolute most of your time at university. 

Internal led workshops from Student Wellbeing, Careers & Employability and the Financial Support Team run along workshops lead by Alumni speakers and cover themes including Building Confidence, Understanding Change and Networking and Communication. 


In their first year of study, all Ignite Your Success students are guaranteed a paid internship. Previous opportunities included working with University departments including Study Abroad and Public Policy, as well as external opportunities with charities and organisations in the Southampton area. 

Supported by the Careers, Employability and Student Enterprise Service, students will receive support before, during and after the internship, enabling them to make the most of the opportunity.

Undertaking an internship in your first year of study not only further supports students financially but also sets students off on a great path to secure future work experience opportunities throughout the remainder of their time at university.  


You will have the opportunity to be mentored each year.

The types of mentoring you will experience are:

  • Year 1- Peer Mentoring
  • Year 2 and Year 3- Career Mentoring

Second and third year Ignite students will have the opportunity to mentor first year ignite students.

Ignite Community

All students that are eligible for Ignite will be part of a wider Ignite community where they will receive information on different opportunities available to them, ranging from voluntary and paid roles, to events. This will include a chance to meet with peers and enjoy social events together as a community.

To keep up to date with Ignite Southampton, follow our Instagram- @ignite_southampton.


Eligible students will be invited to a Transition Day designed to support new undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds transition to University life and help give you the best possible start at Southampton.  
The Transition Day will take place before the start of term and will include information on Ignite Your Success as well as giving you the opportunity to find out more about studying at the University of Southampton and the support available to you when you join us.  
There will also be the opportunity to meet current Ignite Your Success students, tour Highfield campus and pick up a welcome pack.  
Eligible students will be contacted with more information and details on how to register for the Transition Day during the summer.  

Eligibility criteria

Eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • You must have a place to study on an undergraduate course at the University of Southampton starting in the 2023/24 academic year
  • Be studying for your first undergraduate degree
  • Be a EU or UK student with Home fee status

and, meet at least ONE of the following criteria:

  • Been in receipt of free school meals* during your secondary education
  • A care leaver** or care experienced***
  • Have a home address in an IMDQ1 (indicies of multiple deprivation, lowest 20%) neighbourhood
  • Participated in Ignite Your Journey

* This data is received via UCAS declarations- UCAS currently asks all applicants 'Are you currently receiving free school meals, or have you been in receipt of free school meals during your secondary education? Yes/No/Don't Know

** We define a care leaver as a young person who has been in local authority care, including supported accommodation schemes such as Foyers or under a Special Guardianship Order, for 3 months or more since the age of 14. 

*** We define a care experienced student as anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked-after background at any stage in their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked-after. 

Please note: Eligible students will be invited to apply for the Ignite Programme via a direct email.

How to apply

Applications for 24/25 will open in September 2024.

If you are eligible to apply for the Ignite Programme you will be contacted via email with the application form.

Once submitted, eligible students’ applications will be shortlisted by a panel before successful students are invited to a selection interview.

At the interview, you will be asked a series of questions around your application by the panel. Following the interview, the panel will deliberate, considering your answers from both your application and interview.

Successful students will be notified directly following the interviews.

Applications for 2023/24 will open in September 2023.

The Ignite Team

Savanna Cutts: Student Inclusion Manager

Having joined the Student Inclusion Team in July 2022, Savanna was previously a University of Southampton Law undergraduate and then Vice President Welfare and Community 21/22 at the Students’ Union (SUSU).

Savanna was first in her family to attend University and is therefore passionate about using her lived experience as a tool to create change and support other students from underrepresented backgrounds. She is excited to develop the programme futher and is keen on collaborating with other teams.

Savanna is also the co-founder of the Social Mobility Network- a grassroots university group who run events and share information in order to build a sense of belonging and community, and open up conversations about class at the University of Southampton.


Naomi Lastres

Naomi joined the team in September 2023, alongside her role she studies Social Work.

Having previously worked in a diverse range of roles from early years to banking, Naomi is very enthused about Ignites multi-intervention approach to empowering students. Within her role, Naomi is passionate about co-designing with students, and supporting the growth of the Ignite community.

In her spare time, Naomi enjoys salsa dancing.


Carla Wiggs

Carla joined the Student Inclusion Team in November 2023. She is looking forward to getting to know the Ignite cohort and working with students to foster an inclusive and engaging Ignite community.

Carla is also a University of Southampton alumni, having studied her UG degree, MA, and PhD at UoS. She comes from a working-class background and was the first-in-family to attend University; she is passionate about student inclusion and social mobility, and hopes to use her lived experience to create change and support students on their journeys at the University of Southampton.

Find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Ignite Your Success here.

What will it entail for me to be involved in Ignite Your Success?

Alongside receiving financial support, you will take part in a series of exclusive workshops designed to support and empower you to make the absolute most of your time at university. You will also be part of the wider Ignite Community where you and your peers will support and encourage each other.

You will have the opportunity to be mentored in each of the 3 years.

To boost your employability, as well as workshop content from the Careers, Employability and Student Enterprise Service, we will guarantee you an internship within your first year of study, not only further supporting you financially but also setting you off on a great path to secure future work experience opportunities throughout the remainder of your time at university.

There will also be content delivered by the Academic Skills Service to ensure you truly thrive in your studies while you are with us in Southampton.

Are there any restrictions on the courses you are studying?

You can apply for the Ignite Your Success Programme if you are in the first year of study on any undergraduate course at the University of Southampton; however, the financial support and programme are only for 3 years.   

If you are studying for an undergraduate course for more than 3 years, you can still apply and be part of Ignite Your Success. Please note, the financial support available is for 3 years only and there will be no further workshops past year three.   

You can find information on other funding options available at the University on our Student funding webpage

What if I am already receiving funding from elsewhere (Cash Bursary, University of Southampton Bursary or any other grants)?

No matter what other funds you are eligible to receive, if you meet our eligibility criteria you are welcome to apply for Ignite Your Sucess.

If you are successful in being accepted onto Ignite Your Success and receive funds from it, you will still be eligible to receive all other funding you do currently.


What if I cannot attend a workshops or other activity?

We expect a level of commitment should you take part in the programme, 80% attendance should be regarded as a minimum, however we also realise there can be many logistical and sometimes unexpected challenges to participating in university life, especially extracurricular activities.

If you cannot attend a workshop, activity or event for any reason, please do let us know. 

What happens if I leave the University before completing my degree, will I need to pay the funds back?

If you leave university, all funding from Ignite Your Success will stop and you will receive no further payments. You would not need to pay back the money you had already been awarded

How will you make the decision on who is offered a place on the Ignite Programme?

The applications for Ignite Your Success places and financial support will be assessed based on your application answers which include questions on your course, why you have chosen to come to Southampton and the impact the programme will have on your life.

A panel will assess your application and produce a shortlist of students who will be invited to an interview.

At the interview, the panel will ask you further questions around the answers you gave in your application. Following the interviews, the panel will review your answers from your application and during your interview before making a decision on the successful students. 


How will I receive the financial support?

Ignite Your Success financial Support will be paid directly into your bank account. To ensure all payments are made directly to you and on time, please make sure your bank account details are up to date. You can check your bank account details via ‘My student record (Self Service)’ on SUSSED.  

How can I donate to Ignite Your Success?

For information about how to make a donation to Ignite Your Success, please visit-

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