More than 200 students have received a helping hand with their studies after qualifying for bursaries and scholarships totalling £240,000.
The Horizon Fund was set up to help students to make the most of their study experience and prepare them for careers of the future. And thanks to the generosity of donors, including The Denise Coates Foundation, the fund is supporting more students than ever before.
The Denise Coates Foundation, now in its 7th year, continues to support local high-achieving students from low-income families.
Sinead Bowles, 20, from Hanley is studying for a degree in Criminal Justice and Offender Management and says the fund has helped her carry out important research in local prisons – something she wants to pursue through a Masters degree.
She said: “In the first year of my studies I managed to purchase a laptop and reduce the amount of hours I was working which meant I had the opportunity to conduct my own research at HMP Stafford on the rehabilitative culture in the prison.
“Without the bursary that would not have been possible as I didn’t have the equipment or time. In my second year I have purchased several books based on criminological research and rehabilitation and have saved money from the payment to conduct further research once visits resume in the prisons.”
Aspiring teacher, Misbah Mahmood, 20, also from Hanley says the bursary has helped her to enrol onto a British Sign Language course.
She said: "Over the duration of my third year I plan to complete a British Sign Language course. As I am embarking into a career with a special educational needs and disability focus, it is an extremely important communication tool to be able to easily converse with pupils who struggle with verbal communication.
“I have set a goal to undertake more volunteering and placement opportunities that arise. These first-hand experiences are important to not only gain skills and knowledge, but also to allow you to make informed choices about future career prospects."
Aspiring cinematographer Rowan Walker, 20, says his bursary has helped fund his filmmaking and made him more ambitious - also helping with this final year project.
“I come from a very impoverished background and film-making is a very costly business so finding out I can get support with that has really helped me become more ambitious. I would love to work on different sets in the future, working as a camera man or in the lighting department and eventually becoming a cinematographer that people can draw inspiration from.”
For other recipients of the Horizon Fund, the financial support is helping them manage study, work and family commitments.
Ricky Price, 34, from Bentilee is training to become a paramedic so that he can help others and make his children proud.
He said: “I wanted to study paramedic science as my little boy has a chromosome disorder and has been in and out of hospital since he was born. We had paramedics out to him and I decided it's what I wanted to do - help other people and parents the way I felt we were helped. So I took the leap.
“The fund has helped me massively to balance study and to spend time with my children. It has taken the pressure off and I can't thank the donors enough for that as nothing is more important than time with my kids.”
Read more about undergraduate bursaries and scholarships.