Grants of up to £1,000 available from Wiltshire Community Foundation could help boost the education prospects and life chances of young people and families struggling in the cost-of-living crisis.
The community foundation’s Vocational Training Grants are available to eligible young people up to the age of 24 to support the costs of vocational courses at school, college or sixth form or for training through an apprenticeship.
Luke Horn, 17, needed a laptop, chef’s whites and a set of professional knives when he was accepted on to a Level 2 Professional Cookery course at Bath College but his mum Lucy couldn’t afford to support him and the money he earned working part-time wasn’t enough.
The grant paid for all the equipment Luke needed and a year on he has a distinction in his theory and his practical work. He is also working part-time in the kitchen of the Michelin-starred Longs Arms in nearby South Wraxall.
“You can just see his motivation and it has been quite a lovely thing to see all this blossom in him,” said Lucy. “He was able to do his homework in the library on his laptop and there has been a lot of online course content so without it, it would have been tricky for him.”
The former pupil at St Laurence School, Bradford on Avon, will now study for a Level 3 Professional Cookery at Bath and has ideas about doing a business degree before going on to work in a top kitchen and one day open his own food outlet.
Kathryn Gadd received a grant to enable her to study the Level 3 BTEC in Creative Media Practice at New College in Swindon in order to follow her dream of working in the film industry. She lives in Royal Wootton Bassett with her two siblings and her single mum and was unable to afford to help her buy a new laptop and camera for the course.
Kathryn -who is now studying for a degree course in film studies at New College – said, “The grant definitely helped me brilliantly, because I wouldn’t have had those finances otherwise to progress as far as I was able to in my course.”
Wiltshire Community Foundation joint Chief Executive, Fiona Oliver explained, “These grants can really open doors for young people who have the talent and determination to make the most of an opportunity they might otherwise be denied because of the cost. It’s so heartwarming to hear stories of how the grants help our beneficiaries make the most of their opportunities.”
Nicola Hillier, Grants Manager at Wiltshire Community Foundation, added, “The grants have been used for tools, equipment, specialist clothing or study trips in the past. The list is by no means exhaustive and we’d love to hear from anyone who isn’t sure whether their own needs could be covered by the grant so we can discuss it. We want this programme to be as inclusive as possible.”
Applicants must be under 25, have lived in Wiltshire for at least two years and have one parent in receipt of one means-tested benefit. Applications are open now and anyone with an idea of any help or training the grants might support can contact the grants team at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about the grants and apply at: wiltshirecf.org.uk/grants-and-support/individuals/.
Pictured above: Luke Horn’s grant helped him secure a place at Bath College to study cookery