Alumni engagement and philanthropy


Sixteen people in the Canada Room & Council Chamber, Queen's University Belfast
Wednesday 2nd March 2022

Members of the Bright Future Collective pictured with Director of Development & Alumni Relations, Nathalie Trott, Queen’s Foundation Board Interim Chair, Dr Ed Vernon, and Pathway students Hannah Toner and Yasmin Fitzpatrick at the Members’ Lunch on 28th February.

Leaders from six local businesses gathered recently for an event to mark the beginning of a new Queen’s initiative, the Bright Future Collective.  Kainos Software Ltd, Fibrus, The Bar of Northern Ireland, Allen & Overy, Aflac and Alchemy Technology Services are the first to join the Bright Future Collective and were recognised for their commitment at a lunch, hosted by Queen’s Foundation Board Interim Chair, Dr Ed Vernon CBE.

The Bright Future Collective is a new initiative which will engage local companies with students and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping to make a university education accessible to all who can benefit from it.

Currently 34% of undergraduates at Queen’s are from lower socio-economic groups, but there are still many more within this category who will never apply. 

Outlining how the Bright Future Collective aims to address this issue, Nathalie Trott, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Queen’s explains:

“The Bright Future Collective brings together companies who know that investing in young people today leads to a bright and sustainable tomorrow. The Collective initiative will ensure that future Queen’s students who access university through the Pathway Opportunity Programme will receive financial support throughout their studies, enabling them to make the most of their time at University, and removing a barrier to their success.” 

The Pathway Opportunity Programme (POP) was launched in 2017 to support talented young people, who, because of their background are the least likely to apply to, or attend, higher education. For many of these students, living expenses, rather than fees, can become the major barrier to their success at Queen’s.

In 2017, through a generous gift from Kilwaughter Minerals, the Pathway Bursary Fund was established to provide each Pathway student with a £1,000 bursary in their first year of study.

The Bright Future Collective initiative aims to raise funds which will ensure Queen’s can continue the provision of financial support to Pathway students throughout their undergraduate degree course.

During the lunch, the guests heard from Hannah Toner and Yasmin Fitzpatrick, two students who had accessed Queen’s through POP. Hannah, said,

“POP gave me insight into what I could expect in all aspects of university life. From experiencing the Queen’s campus in person to the online walkthrough and explanation of the accommodation, I had an extra sense of familiarity when choosing what would be best for me. I also benefited from the summer school during which I had the opportunity to attend a lecture, meet academics and learn how the classes work. Additionally, I received a bursary which helped to pay for a laptop which I use every day for my studies.”

Danielle Keenan, Group CSR Manager at Kainos Software Ltd – the first company to join the Collective – commented:

“We are delighted to join the Queen’s Bright Future Collective. Schemes like this enable us to support some of the best talent and create life changing opportunities for those who are under-represented at university.  We strongly believe in supporting equal access for all in education, as well as giving back to our local communities.”

The Bright Future Collective will be officially launched later in 2022. For more information about involving your company with this important and impactful initiative, please contact Sorcha Mac Laimhin, Queen’s Development & Alumni Relations Office, on telephone: 074 6957 1872.

For general enquiries or to submit graduate news stories, please contact the Development and Alumni Relations Office:


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