Make Lydia’s UWC LPC Scholarship A Reality

I’m Lydia, 15, from a seaside town in Kent, and I want to engineer solutions to the biggest problems facing our world. Following a competitive selection process, I’ve been offered a place to study the IBDP alongside young changemakers like myself from across the world, at Li Po Chun UWC in Hong Kong. I have the potential, but not the money. 

What makes me capable? I have Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism which means I see the world in a very different way to others. A disregard for social conformity means an overpowering commitment to justice: over a year of leading climate strikes, volunteering as International Outreach coordinator of the UK Student Climate Network, whilst my friends stay at school, stands as proof. I’m not afraid to say exactly what I believe-- in fact, I will always be entirely honest— and I live by this principle: act as you want the whole world to act. I want to challenge the false stereotypes of people like me. I know that we are able to flourish with change, that we are just as capable as our non-autistic peers, and that we can make great contributions to society, but I need the right environment to prove it. There is none like UWC, which acts as a springboard to a world of like-minded people and further opportunities.

I haven’t waited until sixth form to get started on creating the changes I want to see. Elected by the 11-18-year-olds in my district as their representative, I’m in my third year as a member of UK Youth Parliament and my fourth year as a member of Kent Youth County Council. Previously I’ve campaigned for better youth mental health provisions, Votes At 16, and a second referendum on Brexit, but right now I’m campaigning first and foremost for education. Locally, I’m part of a team of young people designing and implementing a Curriculum for Life which teaches pupils across Kent life skills such as politics, finance, and first aid. Nationally, I’m one of the youth leading the UK-wide TeachTheFuture campaign, where we’re campaigning for obligatory climate education. All my life, I’ve dedicated myself to making sure people get an education beyond our restrictive school curriculum-- and here I am asking others to ensure I can do exactly that. 

Although as an unqualified young person, my activism so far has centred around making my generation’s voice heard-- communicating with councillors, MPs, transport providers, and union representatives; onboarding and training new volunteers in UKSCN, running ballots and surveys to gather young people’s views, then liaising with the press to publish them-- what I want isn’t to become a politician. It’s to become a scientist, a mathematician, an engineer, actually innovating solutions to global issues like climate change, poverty, and inequality. At UWC, I know I will throw myself into academic, extra-curricular, and residential life. I’m passionate about maths, having consistently ranked amongst the top competitors in the country in national olympiads, plus achieving an A^ in GCSE Further Maths. Recreationally, I love playing music both in a range of school and local ensembles and alone (I play the cello, flute, and clarinet to Grade 6 standard)— as well as completing my Silver DofE, which includes sports, and my Gold Arts Award. I’m predicted thirteen grade 9s at GCSE, but I know that a narrow British curriculum is incomparable to a global UWC education. Studying at LPC would give me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop my Chinese Mandarin, French, and Spanish alongside native speakers, broadening my linguistic horizons. Moreover, it would give me confidence speaking to anybody, understanding people from all over the world, and living independently. These are vital skills for my ultimate aspiration of working on an international level, sharing ideas with other changemakers to make the world a better place.

I discovered UWC online two years ago, the mission instantly resonated with me-- and now that I have a place, I’ve been sharing the good news with teachers, family, and friends. However, no one in my entire community, let alone my family, had ever heard of UWC before my application this year. Through the combined efforts of LPC UWC and the British national committee, I have been awarded a good scholarship, but this leaves my family to find approximately £12 000 per year to cover school fees, flights, insurance, and a multitude of other expenses. In the past year, my parents have experienced a series of unforeseeable financial hardships: my father has lost his job due to Brexit, and is a carer for my elderly grandmother, whilst disability and health issues are preventing my mother from returning to work. A final £7000 would secure my place.

After months of selections uncertainty, to find out I had a place to study at my dream UWC was quite possibly one of the best moments of my life, and now we realise that financial insecurity threatens to hold me back. Any contribution would help ensure I am able to take up my place, attend LPC UWC, and gain an invaluable international experience that will facilitate me dedicating my life to changing the world for the better. I know that I would thrive in this environment, and I would love nothing more than to take up my place in Hong Kong this August. I’d be delighted to discuss any matters further. Thank you very, very much for reading :)


  • Hugh Davies 
    • £20 
    • 5 mos
  • Nora Marie Uhrig 
    • £50 
    • 5 mos

Organizer and beneficiary

Lydia Nottingham 
Ramsgate, South East England, United Kingdom
Mark Nottingham 
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