Aisling success personified

By Staff Reporter

MOYARD barrister Cathy Fitzsimons, a former recipient of an Aisling educational bursary, caught the spirit of these unique awards at the annual presentation in Conway Mill on Monday night.

The local business-backed bursaries ensure that “inspiration and belief are instilled within those in our society, fostering a genuine desire for them to reach their personal dreams and goals,” she said in an address to this year’s recipients.

In truth, the young lawyer epitomises the “determination, commitment and hard work” which she described as the very ethos of the community of West Belfast.

And there are many others like her,  not least the 39 students (of all ages) who were presented with their bursaries at the gala event.

Spearheaded by the West Belfast Partnership Board and backed by this paper, the Aisling Bursaries may now morph into a citywide bursary scheme. If that is to happen, it’s crucial that any wider programme maintains the verve and ambition which has been evident in the Aisling initiative since its launch in 2000. In the past 12 years, over £450,000 in bursaries has been provided by local businesses to those who wish to unlock their full potential by pursuing a third-level education.

The amount given back to their community by those same recipients, however, will bring a return on that investment which will be felt for many years to come.

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