What difference have you seen the Bursary Fund making to young people’s lives during COVID?
Ciara: The Bursary has made a huge impact on the lives of our young people during COVID. It has enabled young people to overcome the prohibitive costs to accessing employment education training opportunities. We would never have had the opportunity to be able to offer this financial initiative to our young people without the support from EYH. We have been able to support 21 young people with the opportunity to engage in training and employment opportunities.
Kes: The bursary has made a significant difference by enabling young people to continue accessing Further Education at college. The various lockdowns and changed time tabling at colleges have made is essential for young people to have access to up-to-date laptop computers. Without having the bursar, these young people would have had to buy second hand computers or apply for refurbished computers. The bursary fund means that this access is current and up-to-date, which means that our young people have parity with their college peers, which means a huge deal to them.
What kind of feedback do you normally get from young people who access the bursary?
Ciara: The feedback from the young people has been truly heartwarming... I hear things such as “its changed my life” “ it has given me an opportunity to try and better myself” “ I am able to do courses online I never thought I would do”.
The young people who have benefitted from the bursary have shown a real difference in their lives. It has given them an air of confidence that they can achieve things with the right support.
Kes: Standout bursary feedback has mostly been in the form of the surprise that most young people expressed upon receiving their laptop computers. Most of these young people are not used to being supported like this. A computer is viewed as being something high tech and expensive, which is usually not something that this client group would receive from family or could afford themselves. It was powerful to witness the young people smile when they came to collect their computers.
Have there been any stand out moments where you have thought ‘We’re really making a difference!’?
Ciara: Yes, we supported a young person who was leaving prison. Upon release, he was homeless – and we managed to get him into temporary accommodation. After settling him back into the community and tenancy, we began to do some work around reoffending and attitudinal changes – during this support he felt like he was ready to get a job to support himself.
With support from his worker he found a job on a building site – no easy task in the middle of COVID 19! The Bursary helped him get a bike to travel to and from work, buy work clothes and work boots to help him maintain his job. The change in this young person’s attitude and confidence was palpable – eventually he moved out of temporary accommodation and into his own private rented place. This story truly makes me happy when I think of the bursary, because without the financial support to get these items I do believe this young person’s life would be very different to how it is now
Kes: A recent stand out moment is when we worked with a young person wanted to apply to study at drama school, but had previously been unable to do this due to a lack of finance.
EYH staff supported this young person with their application, their statement, acted as a referee and then made the payment for the UCAS and Conservatoire application fees.
This young person has been in receipt of benefits for a number of years and does not receive enough to be able to save or put money aside. He had attempted this the previous year, but could not achieve it, so he was incredibly relieved that the EYH bursary could support him and that he would not have to try and forgo travel or food costs leading up to the application.
THANK YOU TO CIARA AND KES FOR THEIR BRILLIANT WORK SUPPORTING YOUNG PEOPLE.
Our Bursary had its most successful year in 2020. Find out more about the scheme here.