The Community Foundation for Wiltshire & Swindon, an organisation which links up individuals and companies looking to make charitable donations with groups and individuals in need of financial support, has launched an innovative campaign to support young people whose home circumstances prevent them from going to university.
The campaign, One Degree More, aims to raise £5 million which will enable The Community Foundation for Wiltshire & Swindon to support 30 young people in the area to realise their dream of going to university each year.
The premise of the campaign is that by denying the opportunity of higher education to a talented student we could be denying the world a significant potential invention, discovery, cure or work of art in the future.
Rosemary Macdonald, The Community Foundation’s chief executive, explains: “There are several factors that may prevent an academically-gifted student from going on to university; perhaps they care for a parents, work to support younger siblings, or come from a low income family. The message behind the campaign is that personal circumstances should not prevent a student from reaching their full potential.
“It’s not just the individual student that benefits from their time at university; if Marie Curie hadn’t had the opportunity to go on to university, we might not have radiation therapy technology, which is now used to treat cancer throughout the world. If Sir Isaac Newton hadn’t been able to go to university, our understanding of the planet we live on might be significantly different. Who knows what these students might go on to achieve if we give them the opportunity to fulfil their potential?”
The One Degree More campaign is based on The Community Foundation for Wiltshire & Swindon’s existing Shuker fund; a sum of money left to the Foundation by philanthropists Brian and Mari Shuker. Mr and Mrs Shuker specified that the money they left to the Foundation should be used to provide financial assistance to young people from West Wiltshire wishing to attend university. In response to the success of the scholarship scheme, and the difference it has made to the lives of many talented young students, the Foundation is now keen to expand the fund through its One Degree More campaign, making the scholarships available to students throughout the whole of Wiltshire and Swindon.
For more information about the campaign visit: www.wscf.org.uk or call The Community Foundation on: 01380 729284.
Fund helps Angela fulfil her father’s wish
When she was born, Angela Bunce’s parents had high aspirations for her and hoped she would go to university. Tragically, Angela’s father was taken ill and passed away when she was just eight years old, leaving her mother to bring Angela up on her own.
Angela did not give up on her father’s aspirations for her, and when she was a teenager she decided she would like to be a midwife. When she researched the profession she found the only route into midwifery was with a degree, but with her mother struggling to support her and her younger siblings, Angela knew her mother would not be able to afford to offer her any financial support with university.
Angela explains: “I come from a low income family, which means I don’t get any financial support from my mum, who already struggles to support the family on the money she earns from her 21 hours of night shifts and what’s left of my dad’s pension. So when someone from The Community Foundation for Wiltshire & Swindon came to a school assembly and explained that they could offer grants to support young people through university if they had home circumstances that might prevent them from being able to go otherwise, I decided to apply.
“When I opened the letter and found out I’d been awarded a grant I cried with happiness at the fact someone thought I was worthy and good enough to go to university.
“My basic course hours are 37.5 hours per week; the hours most people work in a full time job. On top of that I have to find time to study. My university also states that students on my course should not have a part time job because of the hours you need to put into the course and the midwifery shift work that we carry out as part of our course.
“The support from The Community Foundation for Wiltshire & Swindon enables me to pay for things like my midwifery texts books and uniform for the community work which makes up part of my course. There really aren’t enough words to describe how grateful and appreciative I am. The fund has made a huge difference to me; it’s changing my life and shaping my future.”
Angela is studying Midwifery at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, and receives financial support from The Community Foundation for Wiltshire & Swindon’s One Degree More campaign.
One Degree More supports young people whose home circumstances prevent them from going to university. The campaign aims to raise £5 million, which will enable The Community Foundation for Wiltshire & Swindon to support 30 young people in the area to realise their dream of going to university each year.
The Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon links up individuals and companies looking to make charitable donations with voluntary and community groups in need of financial support.
In 2009/10, The Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon supported 255 groups and individuals, distributing £913,000 in grants.