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The Open University launches scholarship fund to support carers

The Open University has this week launched The Carers Scholarships Fund, which will provide 50 UK-based carers with a full fee-waiver scholarship of up to £18,000 to study an OU course of their choice. To ensure young adult carers are encouraged to apply, 15 places have been reserved for those between the ages of 18-28.

As we mark Carers Week (10-16 June), it is reported that there are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers, providing unpaid support for a family member or friend with an illness, disability, mental health condition or addiction. The tasks that they perform can be unexpected and difficult to plan around; disrupting everyday life, from relationships and health to finances and work. The practicalities of studying can be difficult for carers of any age, who often feel guilty about going to university or find it difficult to commit to a timetable because of their responsibilities.

“I have wanted to get a qualification for many years but due to family commitments can neither afford to, nor is it practical to, travel from home. This seems like it would be a wonderful opportunity.” – A Carer

The OU is the ideal place for carers to study, it has an open access entry policy and a distance learning model that provides the most flexible way to study. Online assignment submission, discussion groups and contact with tutors ensures that those who cannot attend face-to-face tutorials do not miss out. Registered carers are also able to access tailored advice from the OU’s Student Support Team, who have a distinct understanding of the challenges that carers may face.

The Carers Scholarships Fund is supported by the Carers Trust and Carers UK, and Dame Philippa Russell DBE, Vice President of Carers UK, is acting as an ambassador of the scheme.

Professor Mary Kellett, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University commented:

“Even though being a carer can be a rewarding role, it can be incredibly challenging at times and education and career progression is often pushed to the side. We’d like to help carers overcome the hurdles that prevent them from accessing courses, so that the transformative power of education can improve lives.”

Applications for The Carers Scholarships Fund opens in Spring 2020. For further information and about donating too the scheme, please visit https://giving.open.ac.uk/carers

About Author

Hannah is part of the Media Relations Team at The Open University, working with the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. With experience both agency and in-house, Hannah has worked on campaigns for a number of large corporate companies and brands, including RBS, NatWest, Travelodge, Audible, AA and the Royal Academy of Dance. She has completed a Masters in Publishing Studies from Oxford Brookes, and enjoys photography, reading and going to the theatre.

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