Mary Ann McCracken Bursary Programme continues

Mary Ann McCracken Bursary Programme continues

In the wake of the unveiling of the Mary Ann McCracken statue in the grounds of Belfast City Hall, the Foundation, which continues to build on her legacy, has announced a third and final year of bursaries for post primary schools in North Belfast.

For the past two years the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation, in conjunction with Belfast Charitable Society, The James Kane Foundation, Hunter Smyth Fund and Raj Darshna, has supported a bursary programme for all twelve post primary schools in North Belfast. This initiative, first launched in February 2022, has gone from strength to strength, as evidence of the positive impact on pupils has emerged.

Norma Sinte, Chair of the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation, explained “Over the course of the last two years, we have grown the funds available for the Mary Ann McCracken Bursaries from £18k in year one to £24k in year two. This year we are delighted to announce that the fund has grown for a third consecutive year to £30,000, and we want to thank our partner funders, including LFT Charitable Trust who have come on board this year. Last year this fund supported 64 pupils who were identified by their schools due to their financial situation. The impact on these pupils is huge, and we have no doubt that the increased funds available this year will allow more and more pupils to benefit.”

The Mary Ann McCracken Bursaries continue to be a flexible fund for pupils aged 16+ who face financial barriers which may prevent them from continuing to AS / A-Level, further or higher education, employment or apprenticeship. Previous years’ funding has allowed pupils to buy smart clothes for interviews; pay for college or university fees; pay for laptops, books and equipment for higher education courses; transport for interviews, jobs or courses…the list goes on.

Chair of the North Belfast Area Learning Community, Mary Montgomery said “On behalf of all the post primary schools in North Belfast, I would like to thank the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation and its partner funders the Belfast Charitable Society, Hunter Smyth Fund, Raj Darshna Fund and LFT Charitable Trust for continuing to support this initiative into its third year. For our schools to have a flexible fund like this to support our pupils is absolutely fantastic. In some cases it is the difference of a child going to University or not; of getting an apprenticeship job or not; of being able to get to a job interview or not. On behalf of every child who gets this chance by receiving a bursary, thank you!”

Norma Sinte concluded, “With the continued effects of the Cost-of-Living Crisis on families in North Belfast we are acutely aware of the financial burdens many young people in this area face. We are determined, as Mary Ann herself would have been, to give every child an equal chance to progress in their life and work, and not to be further disadvantaged due to their financial situation. We look forward to hearing about the impacts this next round of funding .

Pic caption: Principals of North Belfast Post Primary Schools with representatives from the funders officially launch the third year of the Mary Ann McCracken Bursary Programme in the beautiful centre courtyard of Clifton House, which this year is celebrating its 250th anniversary.

Belfast Charitable Society Clifton House News