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Rebecca Dillon

University bursary to remember valuable work of housing charity Trustee

Commonweal Housing have partnered with the University of Birmingham to offer a student bursary in remembrance of Jane Slowey CBE, a former Trustee who passed away in October 2017.

This year, the Jane Slowey Memorial Fund will offer £2,500 to two undergraduates in the University’s School of Social Policy who have a focus on housing in their final year dissertation. From 2019 to 2021 the bursary will then be open to three students with the same focus.

The financial support is in memory of Jane Slowey who was a Trustee of Commonweal Housing from 2007 to 2017, when she sadly passed away.

Upon joining the charity’s Board of Trustees, Jane helped the then fledgling organisation to carve out a niche for itself and brought her lifetime of experience, contacts and ideas to ensure the charity was able to live up to its strap line of “finding housing solutions to social injustice”.

Outside of her work with Commonweal Housing, Jane held many other senior positions within the charity and third sector, including her time as Chief Executive of the Foyer Foundation as well as a period spent as National Vice Chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. Jane studied at the University of Birmingham and was later awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University in 2014.

For the bursary’s first year, the University have identified two students whose final year dissertations will focus on housing related issues Jessica Duncan and Alex Cirant-Taljaard. Jessica’s dissertation will focus on exempt accommodation, while Alex will look at the link between fuel poverty and social harm.

Jessica said: “Being selected for the Jane Slowey Memorial Bursary is an incredible opportunity which will enable me to give time and resources to my dissertation that I wouldn’t otherwise have had access to. I’m so grateful to Commonweal for the opportunity which has motivated me even further to focus my work and hopefully create a really valuable piece of research.”

Chief Executive of Commonweal Housing, Ashley Horsey said “In her time as a Trustee with Commonweal, Jane had an immeasurable impact on our work and subsequently the lives on the people helped by the projects developed with our partners.

“Jane was committed to contributing her skills, knowledge and experience to helping others and to be able to award this bursary in her memory is a true honour.”

As well as receiving financial support, recipients of the bursary will have the opportunity to present their ideas to Commonweal’s Trustees and be offered the chance to be mentored by the charity’s senior leadership.