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Education grants for Ulster victims

PEOPLE whose schooling has been disrupted by the conflict in Northern Ireland could benefit from a new educational bursary scheme.

Awards of up to pound;2,500 can be made to anybody who has suffered as a result of terrorist violence anywhere in the United Kingdom. This means victims of the Warrington bomb and other attacks in Britain could benefit, as could the families of soldiers killed in Northern Ireland. Even the Spanish or Republic of Ireland families caught up in the Omagh bomb last August could apply.

The bursary was announced by Adam Ingram, Northern Ireland minister with special responsibility for victims.

"We can't imagine what kind of applications we are going to get or the numbers," said Lynda Wilson, director of children's services for Barnardo's in Northern Ireland, who will head the group assessing the applications. But the indications are that demand will be substantial.

"I would like to see a wider strategy against educational disadvantage, but this scheme will help," Ms Wilson added.

There are no restrictions on the form of education or type of support requested but there are three criteria for the bursaries.

* Applicants must have lost a parent, family member or significant other person as a result of the Troubles or must themselves have been injured with resulting physical or psychological effect.

* There must have been a clear impact on education - for example, a person might have dropped out of school or lost confidence.

* The applicant must be able to identify a clear link between the money requested and the likely benefits to their education, such as cash for books, fees or computers.

Contact Barnardo's on 01232 672366, or the Victims' Support Unit on 01232 527900

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