Yoko Ono is awarding £260,000 to Liverpool John Moores University to establish a new fund for disadvantaged students.

Aimed at young people who have been in care or become estranged from their families, the John Lennon Imagine Awards will offer support to the students, both financial and practical, to ensure they benefit from their time in higher education.

As founder of the Awards, Yoko Ono is aware that care leavers and students without family support often face greater challenges than other young people in acquiring qualifications and employment skills.

The Awards will not only give them financial assistance but will include a bespoke package of support, carefully designed to suit each young person’s circumstances. Personal mentors will guide them, offering help with independent living, managing finances, studying and accommodation.

Yoko decided to set up the awards at LJMU due to John Lennon’s connection with the University’s School of Art and LJMU’s established reputation for enabling disadvantaged students to benefit from higher education.

She commented: “LJMU demonstrates a true commitment to helping students reach their full potential regardless of background and circumstance. This award will provide extra support for young people who perhaps need it the most – those who have not been able to receive any encouragement throughout their lives from family members but have shown the courage, determination and strength of character to achieve something for themselves.

“I am delighted to have been able to set up these awards in John’s name, not only because he was a student at the art school but also because he genuinely would have wanted to help these students achieve their personal goals.”

LJMU Vice-Chancellor Michael Brown added: “We are extremely grateful for Yoko’s very generous contribution to the University. Young people who have been in care or become estranged from their families often see starting university as an opportunity to begin a new independent life. These new awards will help them reach their full potential, transforming their lives through a university education.”

The £260,000 gift from Yoko Ono is eligible for matched funding under the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Matched Funding Scheme 2008 – 2011. LJMU is currently positioned in Tier 2, which commands a match of 2:1 private to public funds, resulting in a ‘match’ of £130,000 of additional funds for this particular gift.

For more information about the new Awards, see the website and please call 0151 904 6055.
All applications will be treated in the strictest of confidence.