The girl who got the grades

Old Joe catches up with Niamh from our last issue, who was studying incredibly hard in sixth form while taking care of family members at the same time. The support of graduates like you has made her dreams of becoming a University of Birmingham student come true…

Niamh’s desire to help others

Awaiting her A-Level results was incredibly nerve-wracking for young carer Niamh Wilson, who has been striving to earn a place at Birmingham since attending a summer school for sixth form pupils. With support and inspiration from the University’s outreach team, she turned her passion for helping others into the dedicated study needed to earn a place at Birmingham.

Her brother’s autism had already sparked her interest in healthcare, but when her mum had a stroke, Niamh committed to studying Psychology. She does a lot for her mum, and hopes to build a career helping other people who have experienced strokes and psychological conditions. Yet it can be tough to balance her immediate caring responsibilities with planning for her future.

A taste of University learning

Niamh had a week-long taste of real lectures at the summer school on campus. She went on to join the Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme, which helped her apply to Birmingham and prepare for life here.

‘My excitement about starting first year is growing each day. I can’t wait to be surrounded by like-minded people and inspiring lecturers, and it’s all possible because of the amazing A2B scheme! I’m really looking forward to beginning this new chapter and am so grateful to everyone who enabled me to achieve it,’ she says.

Thanks to gifts from graduates, Niamh has been given an A2B bursary to help her meet living costs during her studies, meaning she can continue to help her family while she learns.

Help another student like Niamh

Alumni like you have already changed 2,490 lives through the 10,000 Lives appeal. If you would like to offer students like Niamh genuinely life-changing educational experiences, find out more at www.birmingham.ac.uk/10000lives or get in touch with Sarah Harrison at S.Harrison.4@bham.ac.uk to discuss making a gift to the area that means the most to you.


Team UoB steps forward for the 10,000 Lives appeal

More than 400 members of Team UoB – alumni, staff and students – took part in the Great Birmingham 10K on Saturday 6 May.

Whether they ran, jogged or walked their way to the finish line or helped cheer on the team, they helped raise awareness and funds for the 10,000 Lives appeal, which supports scholarships and bursaries designed to make possible genuinely life-changing opportunities in education for students like Niamh.

Olivia Kew-Fickus, Director of Strategic Planning at the University of Birmingham, was part of the business challenge team that won the overall large business challenge for the second year. Running with alumnus and Director of Development and Alumni Relations Simon Lerwill (BSc Geography and Planning, 2002), together they raised more than £500 for the appeal.

Olivia says: ‘It was great running as part of Team UoB. Seeing all the blue t-shirts with gold lions as I headed into town and stood in the starting line-up gave me a real rush.

‘I chose to fundraise because I have worked at the University for 15 very happy years, and it was an opportunity to give something back. For me, 10,000 Lives is about the students who have their prospects transformed by the University of Birmingham.’

Team UoB was the largest University team in the only ‘university wave’ at any Great Run event in the country. All together, more than £3,000 was raised to help fund life-changing opportunities for 10,000 young people in Birmingham.

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