The Helena Kennedy Foundation (@theHKF) celebrated the success of two alumni, Kirsty Young and Rosie Wainwright, securing national awards Return to Learning and Outstanding Individual Award at the Festival of Learning 2021. 

The Helena Kennedy Foundation, a social mobility charity established in 1998, provides financial and pastoral support to Further Education students who face social barriers to Higher Education. The charity has supported over 2000 students since its inception over 20 years ago.

Rosie Wainwright, a care leaver, was awarded an HKF bursary in 2013, sponsored by Kaplan. She progressed from Lewisham College to study at City University. Rosie now works as a regional manager for Career Ready. On winning the Outstanding Individual Learner Award she said:

“I'm so happy to be winning this award. It goes to show that it doesn’t matter where you are in your career journey or your life journey or whatever that may be, learning and education and continuing to develop your skills is always important. I honestly didn't expect to win Outstanding Individual -- it’s a little bit insane, thank you so much.”

Kirsty Young, who was a victim of child grooming, sexual and domestic violence, was a bursary winner in 2011. She was a learner at East Riding College and now works there. Kirsty went on to study at Hull and this year she will be commencing her PGCE at East Riding College. As the winner of the Return to Learning Award, she said: “I am delighted and very proud to have been presented a national award through the Festival of Learning. Thank you to City Lit for deciding upon my application, it means a great deal to me and hopefully will inspire others to re-enter education.

Shahida Aslam, Director of Operations at the Helena Kennedy Foundation, nominated Rosie and Kirsty for the Festival of Learning Awards. She said: “I am delighted to have nominated Kirsty and Rosie for these awards and I’m tremendously proud of their success. They are both going to progress on to many other achievements and make a further impact on wider society. They have proven learning can happen at any time and can help to make a difference."

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