From dentistry to film-making, local charitable trust gives helping hand to university students

From left to right: Mya Ditta (Mark Rutherford School), Haleema Abdul-Razakq (Biddenham Upper School), Kyle Keene-Welche (Bedford College), Imade Obazuaye, St Thomas More Upper School, Eshe Powell, Bedford Sixth Form College.

The recipients of this year’s Harpur Trust bursaries have been announced, with 16 local undergraduate students receiving financial support to help achieve their academic potential.

The students, their parents and some of their teachers attended a special celebration event on Thursday 9 September to mark the start of their university journey.

In addition, former bursary graduate Freya has also been granted an additional award available to alumni of the scheme, towards a postgraduate qualification in forensics at Cranfield.

Photo of Freya, taken by student Esha Powell who is about to study filmmaking at the University of West England.

The Harpur Trust received 42 applications from local sixth formers for the 16 coveted places. The bursaries, of around £3,600, are awarded to Bedford Borough-based students from low-income families.

The selected students attended Biddenham Upper School, Bedford Sixth Form, Kempston Challenger Academy, St Thomas Moore, Kimberley College, Bedford College, Mark Rutherford School and Biddenham Upper School and they are preparing to embark on a wide range of courses including dentistry, filmmaking, psychology, engineering, medicine and concept art and comics.

The Harpur Trust University Bursary programme has helped nearly 230 students attend university since 2007.

Grants programmes officer for The Harpur Trust, Katrina Hyden, welcomed the students and said: “Today marks the start of a relationship with The Harpur Trust which we hope will be a long and positive one.

“We know from experience that many of our previous students have gone on to great things, and we look forward to hearing updates from them as they progress on their education journey”.

Lucy Bardner, community programmes director at The Harpur Trust said: “The Bursaries have enabled [students] to concentrate on their studies and reduce anxiety & stress, leading to better degree results.

“It’s humbling to hear how many of them overcome significant personal challenges to graduate with excellent degrees and embark on rewarding careers. Who knows, some of them may return to us as Trustees of The Harpur Trust one day.”

Students who think they might be eligible should contact the head of sixth form at their school or college in the first instance. Further details are also available on the Harpur Trust website at

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