Yoko Ono has donated £100,000 to help vulnerable students at Liverpool John Moore’s University
John Lennon’s widow has given the money to provide support for youngsters who have been in local authority care, or are estranged from their parents.
The money will be used to continue The John Lennon Imagine Awards, set up in 2009 following a gift from Ms Ono.
The scheme offers bursaries of £1,000 to students who qualify at the university where Lennon once studied.
The Liverpool-born Beatle joined the School of Art and Design in 1957.
Ms Ono said: “Over the last three years we have witnessed the significant impact that the awards have had on the students’ self-confidence, achievements and future prospects.
“Our first set of students has now successfully graduated and they are in turn now helping to mentor those just starting out at the university.
“I know that these awards, set up in John’s name, have made a real difference to the lives of these young people and I am delighted and proud that John’s legacy lives on in such a force for good.”
The university said more than 200 students had benefited from the scheme so far.
LJMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Weatherill said: “The importance of studying at university on improving life chances cannot be underestimated and LJMU has always demonstrated a true commitment to helping students reach their full potential, regardless of background and circumstance.
“We are extremely grateful for Yoko’s continued support of this unique and vitally important initiative, the success of which has surpassed all of our expectations.”
Yoko Ono’s fab £100K donation for Liverpool John Moores University students brought up in care
by Ben Turner, Liverpool Echo
YOKO Ono is to splash £100,000 to ensure students brought up in care have a fab time at university.
John Lennon’s famous widow has agreed to open her cheque book again after discovering a bursary scheme she launched at Liverpool John Moores University three years ago has become a roaring success.
The ECHO revealed in 2009 how the artist had forked out £260,000 to fund the John Lennon Imagine Awards scheme.
It is for students enrolling at the university who have been in care or become estranged from their families.
The £1,000-a-year bursary and support package was launched amid figures which show that only 6% of care leavers were in higher education at age 19 – compared to 40% who were not brought up in care.
Backing the scheme Yoko said it would have won the support of her music legend husband – famously raised in the city’s Menlove Avenue from the age of five until his late teens by his Aunt Mimi.
And today we can reveal she has agreed to the second generous donation as annual demand for the bursary has soared from 50 on its launch to more than 200 in 2012.
Confirming her financial support, which will be used over two years, Yoko said she was thrilled “John’s legacy lives on” at the university where he studied at its school of art in 1957.
She added: “When we set off down this path in 2009 I don’t think we imagined just how effective this practical help would prove to be.
“Over the last three years we have witnessed the significant impact that the awards have had on the students’ self-confidence, achievements and future prospects.
“Our first set of students has now successfully graduated and they are in turn now helping to mentor those just starting out at the University.
“I know that these awards set up in John’s name have made a real difference to the lives of these young people and I am delighted and proud that John’s legacy lives on in such a force for good.”
The university believes the support is vital as, statistically, care leavers have more chance of becoming homeless or ending up in the criminal justice system than going onto higher education.
As well as the cash eligible students are assigned to a confidential university “care leavers co-ordinator”.
They help students with everything from finding accommodation, applying for other funding and any courses the student flags up such as money management, cooking and careers guidance.
LJMU Vice–Chancellor Professor Nigel Weatherill said the scheme complemented the university’s commitment to supporting students from all backgrounds.
He added: “We are extremely grateful for Yoko’s continued support of this unique and vitally important initiative the success of which has surpassed all of our expectations.”
Toxteth-born Full Monty star Paul Barber, a LJMU fellow who grew up in care and children’s charity The Frank Buttle Trust are among supporters of the scheme.