“Four years ago both of my parents passed away within a few months of each other. I was eighteen years old at the time. While many of my friends were leaving home to head to university, I was left wondering how I was going to support my little sister and her new-born baby. I didn’t want to give up on my own education but I was also now the only person my sister could fall back on. Through hard work, multiple jobs and budgeting we were able to afford our daily bread and my time at university. Together, we managed.
Then, last September, my little sister fell pregnant again. I was staying at a student house in Canterbury at the time to focus on my studies, but with no support network behind us I moved back in with my sister to help her provide for her children. My contract at my student house had three months still to go, and I found myself working countless overtime shifts to pay the rent for both houses and to furnish the house that I had moved into.
Being awarded the hardship bursary took away this stress. I was awarded enough to be able to actually buy furniture and to allow me to survive until my contract at my student house was finished. That money changed my time at university and made sure that we could survive a difficult three months, and it was only available because of the fantastic contribution alumni have made towards the Hardship Fund.
This support means that I don’t have to work so many overtime shifts and can concentrate more on my studies and exams. Your support has allowed me to not worry about making the next payment on my rent, not worry about a place to sleep or sit when I get home. Because of the funding that you made possible I can make the most of my time at Kent. I am so grateful to the Kent Opportunity Fund and to alumni who give so generously. Because of you, many students like myself don’t need to sacrifice our futures when the unthinkable happens.”
Merregan Brown, Hardship Bursary recipient