A FUND that awards grants of up to £1,000 to help students follow their dream career is now open.
Last year Dorset Community Foundation’s Bursary Scheme awarded more than £37,000 to support 72 students from the county who face financial disadvantage, additional issues such as those with disabled parents, those with Special Educational Needs or those not living with parents or guardians.
The total also includes disadvantaged students studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) at Bournemouth and Poole or Brockenhurst College funded by the community foundation’s Superior STEM Bursary Fund.
The grants can be used to cover the cost of travel to college, equipment, tools or clothing, study trips, laptops or meals. Grants manager Ellie Maguire said: “This isn’t an exhaustive list and students with other requirements for their course should contact us.”
Applicants must be 16 to 25, attending a vocational course, and be enrolled at Bournemouth and Poole College, Kingston Maurward College, Brockenhurst College, Weymouth College, Yeovil College or Wiltshire College’s Salisbury Campus.
Mrs Maguire said: “Many students tell us that they wouldn’t have been able to attend college without the bursary or that it greatly reduced the financial pressure and anxiety this can cause, enabling them to do their very best in class.
“Many will continue in education, studying the same or a similar subject at a higher level and all feel that doing so will give them more confidence to seek work or knowledge to go on to university.”
Two grants from the fund have helped 18-year-old Bella Fryer attend a Skills For Working Life course at Kingston Maurward College to help her follow her dream of working outside with animals.
Her mum is a carer for her dad, who is blind and hard of hearing and the grants of £800 and £134 have helped pay for a laptop, protective clothing, travel and meals at college for two years.
Bella, who has ADHD, said: “I started off with no friends, now I have friends and we meet up in Bournemouth, which I would never have been able to do before starting my course. I have grown so much as a person and it’s all down to Kingston Maurward staff helping me and supporting me.”
Harry Green, 19, wants to be a farmer and was helped to study level 2 Technical Agriculture at Kingston Maurward College with a £900 bursary grant to cover the cost of a laptop, protective clothing and meals.
Harry, who lives with his mum and younger sister, said: “Money is always tight for us and it means a lot to be able to continue my studies without the worries of money.”
When her parents’ income fell dramatically during the pandemic another 19-year-old faced the prospect of being unable to afford to travel to college to become a countryside ranger.
Her dad could only work part-time due to a health issue and her mum is a self-employed carer and pet sitter whose work was affected by the lockdown. It meant that travel to Kingston Maurward College, where she is studying Level 3 Countryside Management, Wildlife and Ecology Conservation, was too expensive. She took a gardening job to help fund the purchase of clothing and equipment needed for her course, and to boost her family’s income.
The education bursary has meant travel is now within financial reach and she is back on the path to her dream job. She has done a voluntary work placement with Dorset Country Rangers where she enjoyed maintaining footpaths, bridges and fences.
I started off with no friends, now I have friends and we meet up in Bournemouth, which I would never have been able to do before starting my course.
A 16-year-old from Bournemouth who care for his disabled father was given a grant for a laptop to study Applied Psychology, Criminology and Law at Bournemouth & Poole College. He said the grant meant he could come home after college to support his dad needs while continuing to complete all his college work.
Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “It is incredibly heartening to hear the stories of how these grants can set someone on to a path they might otherwise be unable to take.
“We are able to make these grants available thanks to the generosity of private donors who want to support young people and help them fulfil their potential. The requests for funding are always more than we can award so are always keen to speak to individuals, companies or charitable trusts who feel they may be able to help us support more students in need in future years.”
Applications for bursaries to be paid in November are open until October 8. Further rounds of funding also available. Application forms, and full details of criteria, can be found here.
The Superior STEM Bursary Fund is open until November 8, morew details here.
Students should apply direct to their college for financial support before applying to DCF, although they may receive funds from both sources if needed.
Pictured above: Bella Fryer, left, and Harry Green busy at work while learning the skills that will help them follow their dreams