Prakash Melwani

Sidney Sussex launches major new wellbeing programme thanks to Prakash and Anjali Melwani

Sidney Sussex College is delighted to announce that Prakash and Anjali Melwani have agreed to give £1,000,000 to enhance mental health and wellbeing at Sidney Sussex and in the wider University.

Prakash Melwani (who read Economics at Sidney, matriculating in 1977, and is a current Cambridge in America Board member) and his wife, Anjali, are concerned with the increased pressure on young people and its impact on their mental wellbeing. Their transformational donation will provide Sidney with an invaluable opportunity to enrich and improve the quality of student life at the College for undergraduates and postgraduates alike.

This extraordinarily generous donation will fully support an over-arching programme for student mental health. We are very pleased that Dr Thérèse Allan will join Sidney as Head of Student Wellbeing in September this year. Dr Allan will lead an ambitious and comprehensive review of Sidney’s wellbeing provision, trial innovative programmes, encourage and coordinate student-led activities, and enhance traditional approaches to pastoral care.

Sidney is enormously grateful to Prakash and Anjali for their wonderful benefaction and look forward to working closely in collaboration with the University’s Head of Student Wellbeing, Natalie Acton, on this important project, from which we hope the wider Collegiate University can also benefit.

The Master, Richard Penty comments: “This marvellous gift from Prakash and Anjali Melwani will have a deep and transformational impact on the wellbeing of current and future members of the College. Even before the pandemic began, it was clear to us in Sidney that we needed to do more to improve the mental health and wellbeing of our students and the appointment of Thérèse Allan and the programme she will develop will allow us to achieve this. None of this would have been possible without the wonderful generosity shown by the Melwanis.”

The University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor, Prof Stephen J Toope, said: “Prakash and Anjali Melwani recognised that this is a crucial moment for investment in the wellbeing of our students and we are deeply grateful. Their generosity has directly enabled us to improve the study experience of our students, not just at Sidney Sussex but across all Colleges. As the pandemic continues, in tandem with the myriad challenges of modern society, Prakash and Anjali’s philanthropy is inspirational.”

The University of Cambridge Head of Student Wellbeing, Natalie Acton, added: “Across the collegiate University, there is significant momentum behind a vision to be not only a place of excellent learning opportunity, but a place where stigma surrounding mental health is broken and where effective means of promoting and increasing wellbeing are proven. I am in awe of this donation, the shared vision of the donors towards these aims, and their eagerness to take action for Cambridge and for wider society.”