Nursing student wins coveted UWE bursary

Issue date: 17 October 2013

L-R Steve West and Martin Coombe

A former Bridgwater College student has been awarded the first prize of the coveted Rod Coleman Memorial Bursary from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). This award will provide financial support over 3 years to help him in his studies.

The award was launched in 2006 in memory of Rod Coleman, the former Director of UWE's Modular Framework and Head of Widening Participation, and is supported by the Wallscourt Foundation. Rod Coleman was passionate about making the university a more accessible and inclusive institution for adult learners.

Award winner Martin Coombe from Taunton is now studying the BSc Mental Health Nursing degree at UWE. He left school with few qualifications and had a number of jobs until he found work that he enjoyed as a care assistant at a retirement home. Martin decided he wanted to continue working in this profession and he enrolled on the Access to Higher Education (HE) Nursing Diploma at Bridgewater College.

The Access to HE course at Bridgewater College enabled Martin to gain the necessary skills to go on to study a university level course. Martin passed the Access to HE course with a merit and his dream of becoming a Registered Mental Health Nurse for people suffering from enduring health issues and learning difficulties is now attainable.

Martin said, "It was a wonderful surprise to be nominated for this award, it will really help facilitate my university studies and I am so grateful. The Access staff and my tutor Tina Swift have been very patient and supportive."

Fay Croft, Director of Widening Participation and Schools and Colleges Partnerships at UWE, said, “The bursary is aimed at exceptional people who are role models in demonstrating that university is accessible for everyone regardless of their background and this is something we really saw in Martin.”

The bursary was presented by Professor Steve West, UWE Vice-Chancellor at Get Set for HE, the summer school for Access students and other mature learners.

Access to HE Lecturer, Tina Swift said, “We have seen Martin's confidence grow and his grade is all down to the hard work he has put in. It has not been easy for Martin who has worked as many hours as he could as a Health Care Assistant at a local hospital as well as battling with his own health problems. Martin has continually supported his peers and gone out of his way to help other people and I am so pleased he has been awarded this bursary.”

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