The Eve Brook Scholarship Fund
Kim Cormack charity sky dive
I am raising funds and awareness for The Eve Brook Scholarship Fund; an organisation that assists 16 to 25 year old, care experienced people to pursue their dream careers. This includes, but is not limited to, scholarships for further education including BA and MA courses, assistance with travel, accommodation, field trips, audition fees, course books and materials. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the fund and as a result 20 volunteers are doing a range of challenges to raise money.
Councillor Eve Brook.
The fund was set up after the passing of Eve Brook, a woman devoted to bettering the life chances of young people in residential or foster care in Birmingham. At the founding of the organisation, which is now run by her husband British Playwright David Edgar, Helena Kennedy gave an address which I think sums this woman (who I never had the honour to meet) up. (Link : Address by Baroness Helena Kennedy).
“Young people so often have swallowed the idea that ‘I’m not sure I can do this’. And the thing about getting the scholarship, is that it’s a vote of confidence. It’s saying to the young people, we believe in you”.
Helena Kennedy QC, 2008
I first heard of EBSF in 2009. I had been at University since 2006. As a care leaver, I found University particularly difficult. In previous holidays I had found myself in the situation where I had nowhere to go. One year, I had been placed in a particularly unpleasant and often dangerous half way house for the summer holidays when my peers would be on holiday, with family or working abroad. In 2009, I decided to apply for summer jobs abroad, not really thinking beyond a possible ego boost of being accepted. I knew there was no way I could afford to go. I had always felt that I was already a burden to the system; a belief that was reinforced by the occasional mean-spirited person who had found out I was a care leaver.
When I was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to work In Ontario, Canada on an extreme behaviour and special needs camp, I was elated. My Aftercare worker then helped me to apply for help through EBSF. Every step of that journey; application, meeting, approval, booking travel I remember thinking, this is a dream. It was only when sitting on a plane, by myself that it sunk in. I was terrified. But I was doing it.
Those three months were hard work; I was pushed physically, mentally and emotionally. And when I returned to the UK, to my final year of University, I felt strong. I had not only received training and experience that would vastly contribute to my career, but I had proved to everyone, including myself that I could do it.
In 2012 I was awarded with a full scholarship from the fund to do my MA in Classical Theatre. A course which has had a huge effect on my career and outlook on life. There were times throughout my studies (both BA and MA) where I felt like an imposter. I was afraid that people would realise that I did not belong at university, though logically, I definitely had the academic ability. At times, knowing that the fund had faith in me, kept me going.
Kim Cormack MA, BA. 2013
In 2013 I graduated with commendation. Since then I have had the opportunity to work with the UK’s most respected directors of classical theatre, perform in amazing productions, have the courage to start writing about my experiences. And now? I have the opportunity to give something back.
Yes, I am doing this skydive to raise funds for a charity that truly deserves it. For an ethos I truly believe in and have benefitted from. The opportunities that were made accessible to me through EBSF have changed my life, without a doubt. I know from speaking to other beneficiaries that the feeling is shared. Financial assistance is only part of the gift the fund has given me; the overwhelming feeling of someone having unrelenting faith in your abilities and celebrating your achievements is something that challenges the complex of shame, low self-esteem and anxiety which many care leavers have.
I am doing this skydive to say thank you to EBSF, to the amazing woman who I wish I had met and to help the next generation of care leavers in Birmingham, who have the odds stacked against them. I am doing this skydive because young Kim, 15 years ago, would never have dreamed of coming this far. I am afraid, but yet again, it will pay off. I just need a little help!
Sponsor Kim on her JustGiving page and follow for updates!