The first winner of a new bursary to support study at Dundee University has said the award will make a huge difference to the lives of her whole family hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Craigie High School pupil Mia Williams will received the annual bursary of £3,000 from the Guildry Incorporation of Dundee to help with financial costs throughout her undergraduate degree.
“This bursary is going to change my life,” said 17-year-old Mia. “I thank the Guildry from the bottom of my heart, it’s going to help so much. Not just me, my whole family.”
Her brother, Robert, is also a student at the university. He has Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and relies heavily on the family for support.
Their mum recently took on additional work due to financial uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, meaning Mia has taken on more caring responsibilities for her brother.
“Caring for a young adult with ASD is very tiring and takes a lot of mental energy,” added Mia.
“It would have been almost impossible to hold a part-time job while studying and caring for my brother. Now I can focus on my studies without that financial worry.
“My brother cannot take public transport because of the sensory overload. If my mum can’t drive him, we get taxis which are very expensive.
“The bursary will help in so many ways but mainly it will allow me to provide transport to the university campus for both me and my brother.”
The Guildry Incorporation is Dundee’s historic merchant guild and one of the oldest bodies in the city, tracing its origins back over 800 years. It continues to uphold the traditions of the city and is heavily involved with several ongoing charitable projects.
Dundee Guildry were looking to encourage and provide support to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who will be studying for a degree.
In recognition of the university’s commitment to widening access, trustees agreed to create a new bursary to provide financial support to one student who had completed the Access Summer School, a six-and-a-half-week programme which helps pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds access higher education.
Lord Dean of Guild, Scott Williamson, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Mia has been awarded this grant in her study of psychology at the University of Dundee and are really happy to hear of the difference it will make to herself and her family.”