Donations help provide safe homes for care leavers
Students who come to Sheffield Hallam University from foster care often don't have a home to return to throughout summer, or a family to call on for financial and emotional support. Therefore, access to a secure and affordable home is particularly important.
Unite Foundation generously provide five accommodation bursaries per year to students from care backgrounds. This covers the cost of their accommodation for the duration of their course at Sheffield Hallam University. However, every year this bursary is oversubscribed.
With many rooms costing up to £6,000 per year, it can be difficult to find affordable accommodation, meaning that some students are left struggling to make ends meet.
Through generous donations to the University one more Unite accommodation bursary has been funded. This means that one more student will be able to make the most of their time at university without having the added pressure of affording rent.
Georgia Walker is a first year student studying fashion design. Georgia spent her childhood in foster care and came to Sheffield Hallam University following three years of living independently. She said: "When I first heard that I would be receiving the Unite bursary I was extremely relieved as I wasn't sure how I'd be able to pay for my time at university whilst living on the standard student finance loan. I'm on a very high cost course and the bursary has allowed me to afford stationary, specialist equipment, course trips and fabric. So I'm very thankful that I don't have so much to worry about. It's possible that if I did have to worry about my finances I wouldn't have made it through my first year of university.
"Another thing I think care leavers struggle with is staying at university over the holidays. Luckily we have a summer project to keep us busy but I think it's hard when everyone is at home in a relaxed familiar environment with their friends and family and we're trying to find things to keep us busy for three months. I'm also grateful that the bursary covers the accommodation costs over summer as I would struggle to find an extra £149 a week.
The bursary has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. Before I came to university I was living on less than £60 a week and had to pay for bills, groceries and anything else I needed so it's made a significant difference not just for being able to afford things for my university course but also it's improved my standard of living."