For a second year, the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation and Belfast Charitable Society will support a bursary programme for twelve post primary schools in North Belfast. Along with funding partners The James Kane Foundation and Hunter Smyth Fund, each school within the North Belfast Area Learning Community will receive up to £2,000 to support pupils (16+ year-olds) who face financial barriers which may prevent them from continuing to AS / A-Level, further or higher education, employment or apprenticeship.

The schools receiving the bursaries will have the flexibility to use the funds in a number of ways to support those pupils who need it most. Norma Sinte, Chair of the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation explained “We are so delighted to be able to re-launch these bursaries within post primaries in North Belfast. Last year, 86 pupils benefited from the funding available, helping them move on to achieve their own potential in education or the working world. We know many more will benefit this year too. These new bursaries, which will support young people to stay in school or progress into the right jobs, are exactly the kind of initiative Mary Ann McCracken would have supported if she were alive today”

Launched at Hazelwood integrated College, Principal Aine Lesley commented “Last year the Mary Ann McCracken Bursaries were a huge help to our school and our pupils. Having a flexible source of funding that can be put towards a pupil’s real need, as and when it arises, has helped immensely. Whether that is to cover application fees for university or to buy a new suit or travel fare for a job interview, we have been able to tailor the money available to individual student’s needs. We are delighted to be in receipt of this funding for a second year, and would like to thank all the funders for their ongoing support”

The bursaries are available to those pupils over 16 in the current academic year.

Norma Sinte continued, “Nearly six months in, the schools are already telling us of the impact they are seeing with those pupils who have been in receipt of the funds, and we hope to hear about many more over the coming months.”