This year we were very conscious in March 2020, due to the pandemic, that students were having to return to previous carers or indeed may have to self-isolate at student accommodation. The Fund quickly established a hardship fund for any Birmingham care leaver at university, including an offer of telephone emotional support. Thus far we have given out £1350 to ten young people from this fund. This is in addition to our normal funding for under and post graduates. This hardship fund continues and is open to new applicants.
Last autumn, 2020, we gave all 50 new care leaver starters at university each a £100 book token at the beginning of this course. We extended the book token scheme this autumn to all Birmingham care leavers starting university as undergraduates and to all those in their third year. Thus far we have given out 150 book tokens each at a value of £100. This scheme has been well received by care leavers.