Rural Economy Travel Subsidy helps Cumbrian students
- Wednesday 22 February
A pilot project, providing additional funding for travel, for Myerscough students on land-based courses in agriculture, animal care and arboriculture and forestry at Ullswater Community College, has proved to be popular.
Learners have been able to apply for funding of up to £350 towards transport costs to Myerscough’s Penrith centre, in a scheme generously supported by Eden District Council.
This exciting new travel subsidy has sat alongside the College’s established student bursary fund for anyone starting a programme at Myerscough College’s Ullswater Community college campus in September, 2022.
Returning students were also eligible, and in total, 43 learners have received assistance, providing a vital method of support, and removing potential barriers to study for learners who may not otherwise have considered the sector-leading programmes on offer, the only ones of their kind locally. The bursary has been proven to widen participation and take up of the programmes on offer.
A further £250 has been pledged for the remaining two terms of the academic year, meaning each student can benefit up to the sum of £600.
The bursary works on a sliding scale, dependant on how far away a student is located to the Penrith centre. Students who travel more than 20 miles in single journey on public transport to the site have been eligible for the maximum sum of £350 in term one, with £175 available for journeys of between 10 and 20 miles, and £155 for more localised trips of up to 10 miles.
11p per mile was also made available for anyone travelling by car, again subject to the same distance scale.
Here’s what some of our students had to say about the bursary:
Abbie Boyd: ‘’It was useful because it got me to and from college especially when my funds were low, and helped my mam and dad to save for other things instead of having to pay for train tickets everyday.’’
Toni Pattinson: ‘’It helped me think less about having to worry about money - it helped me keep track of how much I used each week, and also helps as I can save extra to start driving lessons.’’
Alexis Hinde: ‘’It’s helped massively as my parents didn’t have to pay for me and meant we could better afford transport, as with prices increasing it is getting difficult to budget.’’
Ben Wright: ‘’The bursary reduces anxiety about fuel costs as I drive in. If I was driving in by myself it would not cover all the costs but sharing the car journey means it does.
Daniel Greenall: ‘’The bursary pays for fuel. It definitely helps.''
Adam Brown: ‘’It helps me get to college. The bus service is not clear, the train trip is very long. Getting the money makes things easier and simpler as I can get a lift and pay for the petrol.
‘H’: ‘’It has been useful. It means I don't need to work as many hours. I'm on minimum wage and so I cannot afford my bus tickets on my wages alone. The bus takes longer than the train but I'd rather take advantage of the £2 cap on price, however it still costs me £35 a week.
‘’On Mondays I have to take the train because the bus does not get in on time for classes and that costs me £10 on that one day. Because I don't have to work as many hours I can spend more time studying. I use the £2 cap for my work placement as well at Maryport Aquarium.’’
‘N’: ‘’It certainly does help. If a train gets cancelled you can't use the ticket on another train and you can't refund it, so you have to buy another ticket. Getting the bursary means my parents aren't wasting money especially as they spend a lot on driving lessons for me already. All the money they can save now is helpful.’’
‘K’: ‘’I used it last term as I could buy a week of tickets at a time which saved me about £5-10 each time.’’
‘G’: ‘’My Dad drives me to placement and the bursary means I can get to a placement I wouldn't otherwise be able to get to. It also means I can get a lift to College.’’
Amelia Jackson: ‘’It used to cost about £30 a week to get in so the bursary paid for that. It's cheaper for my parents.’’
Leo Messenger: ‘’We have set up an account for the bursary which I can use with a card to buy train tickets. It separates the money from other money. If it was going directly into my parents account, it wouldn't be clear. I can buy train tickets on the app using this account.’’
‘A’: ‘’It really helps. I wouldn't be here without it. Our bills have gone up. My parents can't work. Food and everything has gone up. It allows me to get an education.’’
Myerscough’s partnership with Ullswater Community College, in Penrith in Cumbria, recognises the importance of the agriculture, animal management and arboriculture sectors to the county, and how important it is that the next generation have the best possible opportunity to obtain high level qualifications locally.
This partnership is now in its second year, and ensures the continued study of these vital sectors for Cumbrian learners leaving school after Year 11, as well as increasing options for other students in Cumbria, who perhaps previously felt full-time study so far from home was too much of an obstacle.
Students can still live at home, and enjoy blended learning programmes, which incorporate a mix of practical and classroom sessions, combined with, on agriculture and animal programmes, weekly activity in state-of-the-art facilities at Myerscough’s Preston centre, with free travel incorporated into the timetable of learners.