Amina Abonde-Adigun

I was awarded a Black Heart Scholarship earlier this year. It is supporting me through my studies, an MSc in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

It’s emphasised to me the importance of continuous support, right back to my primary school days over 20 years ago. I attended a school in Rotherhithe, south east London, where pretty much everyone was working class. It was an ethnically diverse school. My own parents had come to work in London from Nigeria in the 1980s.

One of my teachers, Mrs Shaw, in year 5 changed my life. She noticed something in me and said to my Mum that I should apply for an independent school. As a relatively new arrival in the UK, Mum did not really know about the schools’ scene and this, therefore, had not even been on her radar.

I took the common entrance exam and won places at two independent schools. One of them offered me a full scholarship and was also more diverse in its student cohort, so I decided to go there. It was an amazing environment to be in and exposed me to activities, such as fencing, that I had never had experience of.

After a year, however, my family moved out of London to Kent, and I managed to get into the local grammar school. I still credit Mrs Shaw for all of this. The confidence that she has given me, which led to winning a place at the independent schools in London, had stood me in good stead. I am an example of how a positive intervention from a teacher, even at primary school age, can make the world of difference.

Overall I had a positive experience at school. Whilst I was one of only two black girls in the year of 180, I didn’t experience overt racism. There were more subtle things, such as being confused for each other. Away from schools, my family had some issues and, like many families, we had financial difficulties. It meant that I started working, in retail, at the age of 16.

I always wanted to go to university, despite the financial challenges. I know what it’s like to juggle full-time studies with a part-time job. This was the case for my undergraduate degree in audiology at UCL, which I started 12 years ago and my current studies for a Masters’ in public health.

The expense of studying, particularly in London, meant that I had some paid work set up to get me through my Masters’, but this fell through because of the Covid crisis. As a result, I was planning to defer the course, which would have been incredibly disappointing. But then I decided to apply to the Black Heart Foundation which I found out about in a Buzzfeed interview with the chair, Ric Lewis. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship, which is enabling me to complete my studies.

Having the backing of the Black Heart Foundation has meant the world to me. As well as providing a grant, the Foundation also helps with mentoring and networking. As it happens, I am the one hundredth scholar the Foundation has supported, since they started awarding scholarships in 2013. It’s the brainchild of the businessman Ric Lewis, who was born in the US but has been in the UK for over 20 years. The Foundation supports young people from under-resourced and under-represented communities with “gap funding” - the hidden costs of studying, such as accommodation or the books and equipment. Ric wants to support hard-working and ambitious young people, with the aim, in his words, of “expanding their aspiration bubble.” The Foundation has just launched a crowdfunding campaign, “Each Day. Every Day.” which aims to raise £500,000 from friends, supporters and the general public, which will be matched to £1 mn by the Board, to double the number of scholars it supports to 200.

The Foundation is open to supporting young people with undergraduate and postgraduate study from all disadvantaged backgrounds. Many, but not all, of the scholars it supports are from the black and ethnic minority communities. It’s been a particularly hard period for the black community in recent months. The types of people it supports are talented young people, but who face disadvantage and, in many cases, may be dealing with racism.

We know that the Covid crisis is having a disproportionate health impact on the BAME community, but there is a fear that this could also be the case in education. This makes the work of the Black Heart Foundation, and others’ looking to counter educational disadvantage, so important. The scholarship has given me a lifeline. They are investing in me, effectively saying “Go ahead and fulfil your potential. Be the best that you can be.” On completing my Masters’, I plan to go into healthcare management and look forward to the day when I can pay it forward.

Amina Abonde-Adigun

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

RT @NCFE: ‘For as long as humans have worked, and whatever industry they may have worked in, success has always been predicated on having t…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page