Baroness Helena Kennedy becomes patron of upReach

upReach, a charity providing programmes of support to help bright undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds to secure top jobs, has announced that Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, the Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford University, is to be its first Patron.

upReach was founded in 2012 to tackle the disadvantage that students from poorer backgrounds face in securing access to the most sought after graduate jobs, even if they have secured a good degree from a highly regarded university. It works with graduate employers and leading universities to provide programmes of support that help young people to achieve their full career potential.

As a lifelong champion of efforts to tackle entrenched disadvantage, Baroness Kennedy is keen to support upReach’s work to break down barriers to social mobility.

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC said:
“I know from first hand experience just how tough it can be to break into the professions if you don’t come from the ‘right background’. Far too many students from working class backgrounds still struggle to get placed at the most elite universities, and even those that do find they have another mountain to climb when it comes to getting a graduate job in the professions. upReach is doing all it can to level the playing field and I’m delighted to be able to offer my support.”

upReach is working to address the underrepresentation of people from working class backgrounds in the most sought after graduate jobs. It’s support programmes help to address the facts that working class students are likely to have fewer relationships with professionals and difficulty procuring relevant work experience; that under-resourced state schools are unable to offer fully effective career support and guidance; and, that less financial resource means less access to extra-curricular activities. All of these factors are vital for well-rounded applications.

John Craven, Chief Executive of upReach, said:
“Few people have the level of insight into the issues we’re working to address at upReach than Baroness Kennedy has. Her rise to the top of the legal profession from relatively humble beginnings makes her an inspiration for all that we are working to achieve, and her passion for the cause of social mobility makes her a powerful advocate for our cause. I am delighted that she has decided to lend us her support and look forward to working with her.”

John Craven,   Chief Executive, upReach

Tel No.    020 3096 7893   (Mobile: 0797 1274469)



Notes to editors:

upReach is a charitable organisation supporting less-advantaged undergraduates to secure top jobs. Through partnerships with top employers and universities, upReach deliver a comprehensive programme of professional development. Learn more at

Baroness Helena Kennedy
Helena Kennedy QC is one of the United Kingdom’s most distinguished lawyers. She has practised at the Bar for 40 years in the field of criminal law and has conducted many of the leading cases in those years, including the Balcombe Street Siege, the Brighton bombing trial, the Guildford Four Appeal, the Michael Bettany Espionage case, the Jihadist Fertiliser Bomb Plot, and the Transatlantic Bomb Plot. She has championed law reform for women, especially relating to sexual and domestic violence and developed the defence of Battered Women’s syndrome in the British courts.

She was also the leading voice for equal opportunities in the legal profession for women. She authored a number of books on law reform, co-wrote the successful television series Blind Justice and became a well known broadcaster on law and ethics during the eighties, presenting the BBC’s Heart of the Matter. She has chaired the British Council and the UK Human Genetics Commission. She has been a member of the House of Lords for 18 years, where she sat on the Joint Committee of Human Rights, and is now chair of the European Union Sub Committee on Law. 

She is chair of Justice and co-chair of the International Bar Association’s Institute of Human Rights. She has received 39 honorary doctorates, is an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She has also been honoured by the Governments of France and Italy.

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