Students across Staffordshire University have been awarded bursaries and scholarships through the Horizon Fund thanks to the generosity of donations from high profile supporters as well as contributions from staff, alumni and members of the public.
This includes the Denise Coates Foundation, the fund’s longest standing major donor, which has provided significant support for high-achieving students from low-income families in the region since 2013. Other donors include the ACH Crisford Charitable Foundation and philanthropist Ashwin Kagdadia.
Sherry Matthews is among the first students to receive a Social Action Bursary funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to support students on the new BA (Hons) Action on Poverty and Hardship degree.
The 29-year-old from Newcastle-Under-Lyme said: “I’m really passionate about this course because I’ve been there. We didn’t have much growing up but having that first-hand experience along with the skills from this degree means that I will be able to help others in the same situation.”
Sherry, who has an 11-year-old son, will continue working as a Nursing Assistant at Royal Stoke Hospital alongside her studies but can now drop a day at work to volunteer with the Alice Charity.
“The bursary takes the pressure off and that’s why I appreciate having it. I can use it to get things like books for my course and I don’t have to stress as much about money. It gives me the freedom to spend more time studying and with my son.”
Daniel Cotton, 22-year-old from Kidsgrove, has received a PGCE bursary to support his teacher training in Sport and Exercise.
Daniel has a two-year-old daughter and hopes the bursary will help him manage study, work and family commitments. He said: “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher so I’m really looking forward to doing my PCGE and hopefully getting a job in the local area. The bursary will be a helping hand with things like transport and equipment I need for my course. I don’t have a laptop so being able to buy one and crack on with assessments wherever I am will definitely help.
“This extra funding is great, especially for young parents like me who also have families. It will help to keep me motivated and focussed so that I can do well on my course.”
Since 2013, the Horizon Fund has been helping students to achieve their potential in a variety of ways, from overcoming financial hardship to taking on new opportunities. During that time more than 2,000 students have received bursaries, scholarships or opportunity awards ranging in value from £20 to £2,000
Deborah Sanderson, Head of Development and Alumni Relations, said: “We know that coming to university can sometimes be expensive. The Horizon Fund helps to remove financial barriers so that students can make the most of their university experience and aim high.
“We invest in students so that they can invest in themselves. Thanks to the support from all our donors so many more people are able to realise their dreams and ambitions.”
Find out how you can support the Horizon Fund and make a donation at https://giving.staffs.ac.uk/ or read more about undergraduate bursaries and scholarships.