Students Louise Lee, Katie Harris and Marley Baker were specially selected to receive the bursaries after overcoming significant barriers to finish their college courses and progress on to university.
Louise recently started her psychology studies at the University of Portsmouth after completing her Access to Higher Education Diploma (Health & Human Sciences).
Louise said: “Firstly I was honoured just to be nominated by Highbury, it was so wonderful to think that my teachers and the staff thought that highly of me. So even if I hadn't won it was still a great feeling.”
Alongside her studies, Louise is also a carer for her eldest son Joel, who is unable to communicate and needs 24-hour care, while also coping with her own mental health problems.
Louise added: “When I found out in August that I had won the award it was such a life affirming moment that I had made the right choice to pursue my dreams. Also, that despite all the hardships I had faced in my life, you should never write yourself off.
“The real prize of being part of the Helena Kennedy Foundation is all the support I will receive during and after my degree. I know that having them on my side will open doors to me, for example, when I come to apply for my masters I want to work with Oxford University and also the Anna Freud Centre in London. Things I never imagined possible.”
Classmate Katie has joined Louise at the University of Portsmouth to study social work, while Marley, who completed a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Travel & Tourism, is now studying International Tourism and Hospitality Management at Bournemouth University.
Marley said: “Receiving this bursary has helped me so much with university costs and I was so grateful to have been a recipient. I am so thankful to my tutor for putting me forward for a nomination and it has given me the drive to continue giving 100 per cent to my studies.”
The Foundation exists to overcome social injustice by providing financial bursaries, mentoring and support to disadvantaged students from the further and adult education sectors, enabling them to complete their studies in higher education and move on successfully into employment.
Penny Wycherley, Interim Principal and CEO of Highbury College, said: “It’s fantastic to see that Louise, Katie and Marley’s efforts have been recognised and rewarded. At Highbury, we understand that some students need a helping hand, whether that be financial, personal or emotional, and organisations like the Helena Kennedy Foundation provide invaluable support to those who otherwise might miss out. I would like to thank the HKF and wish the students the best of luck for their university studies and future successes.”
HKF Chair of Trustees and CEO and Group Principal Milton Keynes College Dr Julie Mills OBE said: “We are delighted to welcome Louise, Katie and Marley to the HKF community. Inspiring students from further education to progress their learning and succeed in higher education can be transformational for them and their families. Sometimes people need a helping hand to take this next step. An HKF bursary provides some financial support and over and above the bursary we bring together the talents and networks of our supporters and alumni to ensure every single student achieves their full potential.”
HKF Trustee and Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education Partnerships) at the University of Portsmouth Mark Cooper said: “The University of Portsmouth is delighted to learn that three students at Highbury College, our local college, have been successful in receiving an HFK bursary. Two of those, Louise Lee and Katie Harris' bursaries were won after overcoming significant barriers in finishing their college courses. The University of Portsmouth has a long tradition in supporting the valuable work the Foundation does by providing a number of bursaries. We look forward to following and supporting Louise and Katie as they progress through their courses.”
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