Every day another 6,000 people in the UK take on caring commitments. That’s over 2 million people a year, which means at least three out of five of us are likely to become a carer at some point in our lives. The chances are that you may already be caring for someone yourself or know another person close to you who is either receiving or giving care.
What you may not realise, is that a great many carers of all ages give so much of themselves and find their everyday lives disrupted that they often end up exhausted. They just don’t have the time or money to study for higher education, but by supporting The Open University's Carers Scholarships Fund you can help to give them the opportunity to study for a better future.
The Carers Scholarship Fund has been specially created as the very first of its kind in the UK. With your help in 2020/21 we provided the equivalent of 51 full Open University scholarships to carers so that they get the chance to study, develop their sense of identity outside of caring and retrain towards seeking new employment. In 2021/22 40 more carers were awarded full scholarships, and with your continued support, we aim to provide another 20 OU scholarships to carers in 2022/23.
As young adult carers are twice as likely to not be in education in the UK, at least 15 of the 50 initial scholarships were ringfenced for those in the 18-25 age group, 12 in 2021/22, and we aim to provide at least 6 to young carers in 2022/23. In addition to offering free education with the OU, a wraparound support service will also be available to all recipients.
How your support can make a difference
The life of an unpaid carer is extremely challenging, with more than one in five carers living in poverty and six in every ten carers using their savings to cover caring costs. Together, we can come together to support those individuals who give so much to look after their loved ones.
By supporting the Carers Scholarships Fund you can give carers who have made huge sacrifices on behalf of others, the chance to access educational opportunities. Your gift today can help ensure more carers get the chance they deserve to build their future.
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“Being the main carer for my father-in-law meant that going to university was out of the question. Then I heard about the OU…” Hina Asif Alan, OU graduate, BSc Hons
“I couldn’t attend a traditional university, as there was nobody else to look after my children and the higher fees would have made it financially challenging. [My daughter] Michelle was completely dependent on me for everything; but with the OU I was able to study at home and flexibly, so that I was always there for Michelle. When you’re a carer for somebody your world becomes consumed by their every want and need – being there for them is the only option. I wouldn’t ever change this, but the OU gave me another world to escape to, a world where I could concentrate on myself for a few hours. My studies gave me a respite from my caring responsibilities and a new spark and enthusiasm that filtered through into everything else I did.” Karen, OU graduate, BA Hons
The Carers Scholarships Fund is kindly supported by