Wheatley Foundation supports 80 new bursary awards

“It was like magic”: Wheatley Foundation gives people the chance to study at college and university with 80 new bursary awards.


These are some of the faces of people who are taking the next steps in their education, thanks to financial support from Wheatley Group.

Wheatley, Scotland’s leading housing, property management and care organisation, has given bursaries to 80 people in its communities across Scotland to support their dreams of studying at college and university.

The bursaries, which are worth up to £1500 for full-time students and £750 for part-time studies, cover HNC, HND, Undergraduate Degree and Postgraduate courses.

Since 2017, Wheatley have made 230 awards to help people go on to study at college and university through its charitable trust, the Wheatley Foundation.

This year, the Foundation made an extra 30 awards, bringing the total of people helped up to 80, and thanks to the support, recipients are going on to train in professions as diverse as physiotherapy, teaching, care work and physiotherapy.

Wheatley Foundation Chair, Sir Harry Burns said: “Education is a vital tool in building a more equal society, helping people to achieve their aspirations and break the cycle of poverty.

“Too many people still face unfair barriers in achieving what they are capable of, so initiatives like Wheatley’s bursary programme make a huge difference.

“I am delighted that hundreds of people have already been helped to reach college and university through this ground-breaking programme, and I look forward to hearing what this year’s recipients go on to achieve”.

The bursaries, supported by the Wheatley Foundation, are available to people living in homes owned by one of Wheatley’s social landlords – GHA, DGHP, Dunedin Canmore, Cube, West Lothian Housing Partnership, Loretto Housing and Barony – and people who live in a home factored by YourPlace Property Management or renting with Lowther Homes.

Kaitlyn Burns, a GHA tenant from Auldhouse in Glasgow, received a bursary to study for an HND in Nursing Practice and has her sights set on going on to study nursing at university.

The 24-year-old had always wanted to be a children’s nurse, but put her dream on hold while she brought up her three children, Laylah, 6, Karla, 4, and Kieran, 2.

The money will help her pay for childcare for her two youngest children and for transport to and from her studies at Glasgow Clyde College.

She said doing the course – and the financial support from Wheatley – had made a huge difference to her life and confidence.

She said: “It makes a big difference. I don’t know how I would have paid the nursery fees without it. I don’t know how I would have been able to do the course. When I became a full-time student, I stopped getting income support and I only get child tax credits for two of my children, so things were quite difficult.

“I was only 18 when I had my first child, so I have really just been a mum for the past six years. I just want to go for it now and achieve things for me. Nursing children is something I have always been interested in but it is only now I am getting the chance.

“It is great for my children to see my studying full-time. My confidence has grown and there has been a massive change in them too.

“I wouldn’t have been able to imagine myself being here a few years ago. I left school with no qualifications but now I can make a difference.”

Caitlin Higgins, 25, a YourPlace customer from Hillpark in Glasgow, is on course to become an art teacher, thanks to support from Wheatley.

The Glasgow School of Art graduate said: “I think teaching would be a really rewarding career. My own art teacher at school inspired and encouraged me so I would love to be able to do that for secondary school students – even if it is just one person. I also just love art and want to share that.

“I am just so grateful for the support. To go back to university, I had to give up both of my jobs. It will also help me buy materials, books and a printer. I just want to say thank you.”

Erin Kennedy, a DGHP customer from Annan, is pursuing her dream of becoming a primary school teacher.

The 28-year-old is off to complete her PGDE at Glasgow University’s campus in Dumfries, after completing an HND in childhood practice.

She didn’t get into university after leaving school, and gave birth to her daughter, Lily, when she was 19. Now, 10 years later, she is finally ready to pursue her own ambition and do what she always wanted to.

She said: “When you have children, you put yourself on the backburner. I took a leap last year and thought 'why not go for it?'

“I always wondered if I could actually afford to go back and study. This came along and I applied. I was just so excited when I found out. It was like magic.

“I know the course is a lot of work so I needed to reduce my hours. This has made me more financially comfortable and gives me a bit of breathing space and peace of mind.

“Teaching is something I always wanted to do. I was scared I couldn’t afford it.

“Lily is 10 now. We do our homework together like a little homework club. She is very proud and can see I am happier. I think when you are happy you are a better mum.”

Wheatley Foundation Director Lorraine McLaren said: “It is fantastic to see people in Wheatley communities across Scotland take a step closer to achieving their dreams.

“Education is one of the Wheatley Foundation’s Big Five – and our support has already helped hundreds of people gain qualifications, increase their skills and help them land their dream job.

“I wish every one of our latest bursary recipients every success in the next stage of their journeys.”

Thursday, September 10, 2020