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Holly Welsby (U16) is from Accrington, Lancashire and attended state comprehensive St. Christopher’s before moving to Burnley College to complete her A levels. She recently graduated from Churchill with a First Class degree in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences. Coming from a deprived community was just one of several factors that influenced Holly's passion for psychology.
Holly was the recipient of the James Barton Cambridge Bursary for each of her three years at Cambridge and she is very conscious of the impact receiving the funding had on her time at Churchill.
I was fortunate enough to receive an annual bursary and the benefit this gave me was huge. Not having to worry (too much) about whether I would have money for all the necessities at university took a huge burden off my shoulders (and off my mum’s shoulders!) which I am so grateful for.
Whilst she is clear that she would have taken up her place without the bursary she knows she would have struggled to have covered her accommodation and living costs and she would definitely not have been able to participate fully in Cambridge life by joining in with any social events.
Because of the bursary support I have received, I was always able to pay for accommodation, living costs and leisure activities. Having enough money for leisure activities was also extremely important because Cambridge is so much more than academia: it is theatre shows, music concerts and May balls, too!
Holly greatly valued the diverse and welcoming community fostered at Churchill and points to the highlight of her time as being the meeting and making of friends for life.
She has now taken an exciting first step towards her ultimate career goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist, working as a peer support coach for the mental health charity Mind. She is part of a new Neighbourhood mental health team that is using an innovative coaching approach to help people create and carry out goals to improve their mental health and well-being – a prototype that was co-designed with people with lived experience; 'it's a new way of working within mental health and is very exciting!'
Holly is excited about her career but she is also keen to communicate the value of the funding she received at Churchill, to help ensure that others like her continue to access the opportunities available.
Churchill once ended a speech with “‘Come then, let us go forward together”, and from this, the college has its motto – ‘forward’. The goal of the College is to encourage and enable social mobility, however this cannot always be achieved alone – the generosity of donors is crucial to giving some young people a way into the system, and a way up. “Let us go forward together."