Bradford College are proud to sponsor the Helena Kennedy Foundation Awards (HKF). The HKF was established in 1998 to provide bursaries to deserving FE students who have overcome significant personal and financial hardship to complete a further education course and progress on to higher education.
Earlier this year the College promoted the HKF Awards in a bid to help students, inviting them to submit an application form to give them the chance to win a £100 College prize and the opportunity to be put forward for the HKF Award.
Over the years HKF has helped hundreds of students from over 180 FE sector Colleges progress and graduate from university. Nominees picked by the HKF to accept an award each received a £1000 bursary to support their progression on to HE. The lucky award winners will also be offered on-going personalised support throughout their time at College and beyond.
Having received numerous applications the College selected the ten best applicants and rewarded them with £100 each before putting five outstanding applications forward for a HKF Award. The five students selected to go through to the national awards are in with a chance of winning a £1500 bursary and support from the foundation throughout their education.
This is 3rd consecutive year Bradford College have taken part in this worthy event. Over the past two years the College has successfully won awards. Last year’s winner, Nalette Tucker won a £1500 bursary from the foundation. Nalette explained that the HKF Award and bursary had made a big difference, helping her progress with her studies.
A presentation ceremony was held at the College, to reward the students for their hard work and commitment to their studies. Michele Sutton, OBE, Bradford College Principal & Chief Executive and Nick Byrne, Assistant Director, Learner Services presented ten Bradford College students with a cheque for £100 each on Monday 27th April.
Nick and Michele congratulated the students and talked about the importance of progressing through education from Further Education to Higher Education. Nick said: “I’m honoured to present awards to such deserving students. Bradford College has taken part in the Helena Kennedy Foundation Awards for the past two years and I’m delighted to have been involved in the selection and awarding process. The quality and standard of the applications we received was incredibly high. As a College we are extremely proud that our students have won a bursary in the last two consecutive years and we hope for success again this year.”
Speaking at the award ceremony, Michele said as she presented the cheques to the students: “I’m delighted to present these awards to our students. The Helena Kennedy Foundation Awards is a fantastic way of acknowledging students and their commitment to furthering their education. Everyone receiving an award has shown dedication, commitment and the knowledge that qualifications are the key to career progression and success. It’s always a pleasure to celebrate the success of Bradford College students.”
The Helena Kennedy Foundation Award winners will be announced later this month and the College hopes that a Bradford College student will be successful in winning one of the bursaries.
Executive Director of Finance, Mr Doug Stott speaking at the presentation ceremony said: “This is a fantastic event for students; they’re all significantly disadvantaged, usually financially and that’s why we’re here to help.”
Mother of three, Zaynab Khalifa is studying AS Psychology & Sociology and A2 Philosophy & Religious Studies. Explaining why she had been nominated for an award, Zaynab said: “We’ve had quite a few health problems in the family as well as financial worries. My husband lost his job and I’ve had time off to have my children. I have kidney problems as well, so I’ve overcome quite a lot to get to where I am now.”
Zaynab spoke about how she felt to be nominated for the HKF Award, she said: I’m really happy! It’s nice to be recognised for what I’m doing. It doesn’t matter about the money – it’s about the recognition.”
Student Sherrie Highley is studying Sociology, Psychology and English Language, expressing her delight at being nominated for an award, Sherrie remarked: “I’m happy and surprised to have been nominated… I didn’t expect it. I didn’t think I deserved it, but my tutors felt that I did. I’m really happy!” Sherrie’s father is ill and she is often tasked with looking after both her father and younger brother; despite this she is determined to continue with her studies and secure a bright future.
Scooping a £100 award from the College, Sherrie added: “I’m going to use half the money to pay for an exam resit and I intend to use the rest to celebrate by going out for a meal with my boyfriend.”
With pride Lecturer, Veronique Leygue added: “I am very pleased for Sherrie; she’s worked very hard in the last two years and really deserves it. She’s one of our most deserving students and I would be incredibly happy if she could go on and win one of the national awards.”
Corrine Bosley was nominated for an HKF Award. “I’ve had quite a few problems over the last few years but I’m determined not to let that come in the way of me fulfilling my dream to study Astrophysics next year. I know it will be a lot of hard work but it will be worthwhile in the end.” When asked how Corrine intends to use the money she’s received from the College, she replied: “To be honest it’s probably going to go on some little bits for me to make my life a bit more special.”
Corrine continued: “If I am selected for a HKF bursary, the money will go towards getting somewhere stable to live. Anything that’s left over will go towards books and if I’m really lucky a telescope because I’ve wanted one for ages.”
When Director, Doug heard of Corrine’s plans to study Astrophysics, he arranged for Corrine to pay a visit to the College’s WOW Academy and the Yorkshire Planetarium, which is based at Harewood House to discover more about the galaxy and space.
Student Saffron Williams speaking at the presentation ceremony said: “I feel very privileged to have been nominated for this award. It’s been a very hard year for me, so this has been something really positive to look forward to. ” Saffron was made homeless when she first started her course at Bradford College. Saffron explained: “I was unable to get any benefits as I was enrolled on a full-time course. I was in a catch 22 situation where I couldn’t get anywhere to live. Then my mentally ill brother asked me to move in with him. I said yes, but things started to go wrong. He beat me up and the police had to be called in. I had to move back in with my dad, that’s when we discovered his wife was a criminal. Its subsequently resulted in my dad going to court today to see if the house is going to be repossessed. I’m surprised that I’ve managed to get through the course despite these difficulties. Getting the support from my friends, family and tutor has made all the difference – I couldn’t have done it without them - and its made me even more determined to succeed!”
When asked what it would mean for Saffron to win a HKF Award and bursary, Saffron said: “It would mean so much to me. It would be such a weight lifted off my shoulders. Throughout the two years that I’ve been here I haven’t been able to buy any books or proper stationary. Anything that I’ve had, my mum’s had to give me or I’ve had to borrow. I’d just like to start my degree next year with a bit of head start. Knowing I could go out and buy books and equipment would make life so much easier.”
Saffron’s mum, Suzanne Jones, commenting on her determined daughters achievements said: “She’s done really well. I’m really pleased that Saffron has got the award. In a sense it has reaffirmed my faith in the education system and the faith I try and give her. I keep saying to her whatever happens at the end of this, you can’t loose. It will change you as a person - you will develop as a person.”
Suzanne continued: “To get the award, which is a little bit of financial remuneration for a young person means so much. To have a bit of money that she’s achieved on her own is fantastic.”
Saffron added: “All the hard stuff that I’ve gone through and then being given this, just makes me feel like there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”