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Unite Students commits 1% annual profits to social initiatives every year

9 June 2022

  • This commitment means Unite Students will donate c.£2million to social initiatives a year
  • Funds will go to Unite Students’ successful Leapskills programme, which has helped thousands of young people to be better prepared for making the ‘leap’ to university life
  • The Unite Foundation, which provides free year-round accommodation for care leavers and estranged students, will receive additional funding in 2022 – its 10th anniversary year

Unite Students, the UK’s largest provider of student accommodation, has committed to donating 1% of annual profits to social initiatives going forward, amounting to a commitment of c.£2million a year.

These initiatives will be closely aligned to its purpose of providing a Home for Success for students and its aim of widening participation in higher education.

There will be two main funding streams in 2022. The first covers Unite Students’ Leapskills programme – an interactive set of workshops designed to prepare school-leavers for independent living at university. The second will cover the Unite Foundation, the charitable trust founded by Unite Students in 2012, which provides free accommodation for care leavers and estranged students while at university.


Funding will be directed to Unite Students’ Leapskills programme, which helps young people to fully prepare for making the ‘leap’ to university life.

The programme, which is endorsed by the Department of Education, was originally set up in 2018 after research by Unite Students highlighted a gap in student expectations versus the reality of university life. It supports 17 and 18-year-olds through workshops and online training and has successfully helped more than 4,000 school and college-leavers prepare to live more independently.

This summer, Unite Students is partnering with UCAS to reach even more young people and assist their preparations ahead of the start of the 2022/2023 academic year.

Leapskills aims to help students get the most out of living with different people, making new friends, balancing work with fun, while managing money and juggling academic study. Schools interested in accessing Leapskills for their pupils preparing to go to university can sign up here.

Unite Foundation

This year, Unite Students will be supporting 100 students to mark the Unite Foundation’s 10th anniversary.

The independent charity, which currently partners with 25 universities across England and Scotland to provide free university accommodation for care leavers and young people estranged from their families, has helped 514 students to date. Since its inception, Unite Students has committed £18million to the Unite Foundation.

Richard Smith, Chief Executive at Unite Students, said:

“We are hugely proud to pledge 1% of our annual profits to social initiatives going forward. This is a significant commitment – for us as a business, and the sector more broadly. We have a long track record of funding social initiatives, but this new commitment ensures a sustained positive social impact.

“Widening participation in higher education has always been important to Unite Students – reflected in the two pre-existing initiatives we are funding here. Our Leapskills programme plugs that expectation-versus-reality gap for students, providing essential tools to prepare them for university life, while the Unite Foundation is doing vital work to level the playing field.”


For further information, please contact Unite Students press office

Tel: +44 117 450 6300

Notes to Editors

About Unite Students

Unite Students is the UK’s largest owner, manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) serving the country’s world-leading higher education sector. We provide homes to 74,000 students across 172 properties in 25 leading university towns and cities. We currently partner with over 60 universities across the UK.

Our people are driven by a common purpose: to provide a ‘Home for Success’ for the students who live with us. Unite Students’ accommodation is safe and secure, high quality, and affordable. Students live predominantly in en-suite study bedrooms with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security and high-speed wi-fi. We also achieved a five-star British Safety Council rating in our last audit in 2020.

We are committed to raising standards in the student accommodation sector for our customers, investors and employees. This is why our new Sustainability Strategy, launched in 2021, which includes our social impact strategy with a significant focus on providing opportunities for all. Our Leapskills programme is endorsed by the Department of Education.

Founded in 1991 in Bristol, the Unite Group is an award-winning Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, visit Unite Group’s corporate website or the Unite Students’ site

About Unite Foundation

The Unite Foundation is an independent registered charity offering unique accommodation scholarships for care leavers and estranged young people at universities across the UK.

The Unite Foundation scholarship takes care of students’ accommodation and bills, covering up to three full years of study for 365 days a year. Our aim is that with a stable home taken care of, Unite Foundation students feel able to access and experience everything that university has to offer.

The charity currently works with 25 universities across England and Scotland, and the team works closely with Unite Students: the charity’s accommodation partner and principal corporate donor.

Founded in 2012, the Unite Foundation is currently celebrating its 10th Anniversary. To date, the Unite Foundation has awarded 514 scholarships, with 254 graduates now pursuing their dreams.

For more information about the Unite Foundation and the scholarship visit  To find out what our students have to say go to