Robyn's story


In 2013 we awarded a bursary to Robyn towards her Masters degree in Evidence Based Social Intervention at Kellogg College, University of Oxford.

We caught up with Robyn to find out what she was up to now and to hear about the impact our funding had.


How did you hear about us and what made you decide to apply to us for funding?

I completed my A Levels at Sir John Cass [now Stepney All Saints] Sixth Form College, and my former Head of Sixth Form became one of three referees who supported my M.Sc. application. This ongoing support left me hopeful that, if there were any funding available, you would continue to fight in my corner.

What was your experience of us as a funder (at application or subsequently)?

Passionate. Encouraging. Generous. I had three months to raise £26,000 to take up my place at Oxford. You not only provided a discretionary grant covering one fifth of this, but also pointed me in the direction of other charitable Foundations who were able to help. You acknowledged my determination and matched it.

Could you explain a little about your personal situation at the time you applied?

I was in my final year of reading Law at Queen Mary, University of London, and caring for my mum who suffers from bipolar disorder. I had taken on multiple paid jobs over the summer holidays and weekends and, with a lot of grit and perseverance, saved up enough money to cover nearly one-third my Oxford fees.

What was your time at Oxford like and what did you enjoy most about your Masters degree?

Very special. It was the first time in my education that I didn’t feel like I was studying – yes, it was challenging and pushed you beyond what you thought you were capable of, but there was also a freedom to explore the topics that mattered to you and a sense of learning that went beyond preparing for exams.

How would you say the bursary helped you?

Quite simply it turned my dream into a reality. Without the grant, I wouldn’t have been able to take up my place at Oxford.

To any young person who feels like the odds are stacked against them: I am working class; I have an East London accent; I was raised in a single parent household; I am a carer; I am a woman. I am all of these things, and I am an Oxford graduate working at the heart of Government. You can achieve amazing things. And when you do, hold true to your beginnings, so that those in similar situations are reminded of what is possible.