Cash help to keep young people in education

Young people in Tower Hamlets can apply for £400 each from tomorrow (Tuesday, October 1) as this year’s Mayor’s Education Award (MEA) gets underway.

Now in its third year, the MEA helps students from poorer backgrounds stay in education after their GCSEs. Successful applicants will receive £400 a year to help towards the costs of studying, for items such as books, travel or for field trips.

The council expects to fund all eligible students so is encouraging as many students as possible to apply.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman said: “No student should be unable to fulfil their potential because of a financial barrier.

“Young people tell me that they would have been forced to walk away from education if it hadn’t been for the MEA. I don’t want anyone to slip through the net like this, which is why I am proud that Tower Hamlets Council is once again offering this vital help.”

The MEA was launched in 2011 to replace the support that had previously been provided through the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), which was scrapped by the coalition government.

The MEA has become so successful that it inspired a sister scheme aimed at helping local students studying at university. The Mayor’s Higher Education Award was launched in July and has proved similarly popular, with hundreds of young people from Tower Hamlets applying for the bursaries.

Applications for the original scheme, the MEA, formally open tomorrow at 9am. Any applications already submitted will be accepted.

Cllr Oliur Rahman, the cabinet member for children, schools and families, urged school leavers to apply.

He said: “I don’t want any young person to miss out on this money because they didn’t get round to filling out a form.

“This money can mean the difference between someone dropping out of education forever – or going on to improve their life prospects.

“Please, if you think you are eligible, take the time to fill out a form or contact us for more information.”

The money, which is dependent on the applicant attending all their lessons, will be paid in two installments of £200 and because it is a grant, there is no need for any of it to be paid back.

There are various criteria which applicants must fulfil, including being between 16 and 19 on September 1, having lived in Tower Hamlets for at least three years and whose household income is less than £20,817.

Students are being advised to get their applications in as soon as possible. An application must be received within three months from your date of enrolment and must be made before the end of the course year.

Students enrolling in schools or colleges after this date must apply within three months from the date of enrolment and must apply before August 31, 2014.

For full details, frequently asked questions and to apply, visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/mea or ring the Tower Hamlets Council benefits team, which coordinates the MEA, on 0207 364 5001.

September 30, 2013

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