Building on Westminster’s partnership with Portal Trust since 2017, the University can now provide vital additional support to 15 care leavers per year through these bursaries for students in their final year of study. The bursaries are provided to students within Inner London, and enable them to reduce paid working hours during their pre-finals revision period so they can focus fully on their studies and attaining higher degree awards. The money also contributes towards food, utility bills, rent at university and a deposit for rented accommodation after university, in addition to graduation costs, interview clothes and cushioning living expenses whilst graduates look for full-time work. 

Students from care backgrounds often face greater financial and emotional pressures without the family support networks that other students have. These students often work longer hours to support their living expenses, giving them less time to study and do well, and this adversely affects their mental health and wellbeing. With this transformational grant from The Portal Trust, an organisation committed to supporting impactful educational opportunities for young people in London, this vulnerable student cohort will feel much more supported throughout the most pressurised time of their studies, and young adult lives. 

The University of Westminster has a long-held commitment to widening access to those from under-represented groups and was proud to be awarded the Buttle UK Quality Mark for its commitment to care leavers. The Care Leaver Completion Bursaries are one of several scholarship schemes that the Development Team has cultivated with external Trusts and Foundations.

One student recipient, Jess, said: “The completion bursary was a life-saver for me; I was considering using a food bank and did not know how I would get by from day-to-day before receiving the money which changed my life for the better. The bursary gave me the luxury of time to study, and I didn’t have to work every day to make ends meet, as I felt particularly alone and stressed about stretching money to pay my bills and rent. I fear I would not have completed my degree at all without the generosity of the bursary. I was able to graduate with a first-class Psychology degree!” 

Jules Attanayake, Trusts and Foundations Officer in Development Team at Westminster, said: “I would like to sincerely thank the Governors of The Portal Trust for this generous and transformational donation. This will truly go a long way in helping 45 of our most vulnerable students at this time, with students adversely affected by the effects of the pandemic, and facing a more uncertain job market than ever before.”

To find out how you can help more students from care backgrounds, please email [email protected].