Northern Ireland comedy legend Frank Carson has launched a £100,000 bursary scheme for pupils at integrated schools.
The Carson Bursaries for Integrated Education will provide 10 bursaries of up to £1,000 each for students to use their creative talents to demonstrate what integration means to them.
Funding for the annual bursary scheme has been provided by Frank’s son and business entrepreneur Tony Carson and will be available through the Integrated Education Fund, the charitable foundation which supports the growth and development of integrated education.
Frank Carson said: “It is important we celebrate the impact integrated education is having on the lives of young people.
“What better way to do that than through the creative talents of the young students themselves.
“After all it is they who are experiencing this special opportunity that so few of us from Northern Ireland have ever had. I can’t wait to see the submissions and then judge the final pieces.”
Tony Carson said: “I have no doubt about the range of creative talents in young people in schools. The bursaries aim to support such creativity and contribute to what is such an important issue for Northern Ireland.
“Dad and I are committed to integrated education. Our experiences of separate schooling only served to delay the day we made friends with people from other traditions. We both feel we were deprived of the richness integration brings. We are all different, so let’s celebrate that.”
The bursaries are open to all sixth form integrated college students in Northern Ireland. Application packs are available to download at www.ief.org.uk.
Applications must be submitted by October 24, 2008, and all work must be carried out between January 1 and April 30, 2009. A showcase event, hosted by Frank Carson, is planned for 2009, which will feature completed projects.
Tony, who lives in London, recently co-wrote a book entitled ‘Integrated to Accumulate’ which looked at the social and economic gains that can be made from creating a more integrated society in Northern Ireland.
As of September 2007, there were 62 integrated schools across the province, 20 post-primary and 42 primaries, educating over 19,000 pupils. Over 750 pupils were turned away in September 2007 from integrated schools because there were not enough places to satisfy parental demand.