Ismail gets away to uni with £3000 in the bank

| Care and Support | Training

The Chalkhill resident has started a degree at the University of Bath, with the help of a new bursary scheme

mtvh customer Ismail

Ismail Haji is settling into the student routine of lectures, labs and late nights and is “loving it”.

The 18 year-old Metropolitan Thames Valley resident is a few weeks into an undergraduate degree course at the University of Bath, where he’s studying Chemistry with Management.

It’s the first time he’s lived away from his family home in northwest London’s Chalkhill – and it doesn’t come cheap.

“It costs around £130 a week to stay in student halls on campus, so money was always going to be a concern,” he explains. “I could have studied in London, but other universities were better for my course. Plus I wanted to go away – it gives you life experience.”

Luckily, his bank balance has been boosted by a new bursary from the Chalkhill Community Trust Fund (CCTF).

Ismail is one of two recipients of the award this year – the other is taking Physics at University College London. Up to five bursaries of £9000 over three years will be awarded by the CCTF to 18-25 year-olds living in Chalkhill and starting their first degree or further education qualification.

“We launched the higher education fund bursary scheme as we believe greater focus should be placed on the needs of the young residents in the community,” says Juliana Bell, CCTF trustee and MTVH programme delivery manager of the Migration Foundation.

“Since the launch earlier this year, we have awarded two bursaries and we hope that we will receive more eligible applications for the next academic year as more young people get to hear about the scheme.”

The £1.4m trust fund was released in 2000 by the sale of land to a supermarket as part of the regeneration of Chalkhill and later supplemented by the sale of a training centre, initially used during the physical rebuilding of the area.

It is used to fund sporting, wellbeing and educational projects in the local community under the jurisdiction of two MTVH, two Brent Council and two resident representative trustees.

Ismail’s mother encouraged him to apply. “I’m glad she did,” he says. “It was easy to do. My family always wanted me to go to a top uni and I was lucky to have their support. I hope my younger brother and sister follow in my footsteps.”

And if the bursary didn’t change his plans, it did smooth the path.

“I had calculated how much I would need each week, just to cover my living costs, and the only way I would have been able to afford it was by getting a part-time job,” he explains. The bursary means I won’t have to do this and I will be able to concentrate more on my studies.

“Without the bursary, I would be constantly struggling. It’s a burden off my chest.”