What I Learnt From The Future Finance Scholarship Campaign

I spent 2 weeks at the end of July canvassing for votes for a £20,000 scholarship with a private student loans company called Future Finance. Unfortunately, I did not win the funding but I learnt so much during the process...

Why Did I Apply?

As a part of my speciality training in Special Care Dentistry, I have the opportunity to undertake a Masters in Special Care to fulfil the academic element of the curriculum. 

London and South trainees complete this MSc usually during the first 2 years of their StR training spending 2-3 days a week at Guy's hospital. Since I have been doing my first year of training part-time, this September I would be starting this MSc - however, the cost of the degree is funded by the trainee, which is a huge sum of money amounting to almost £30,000. Since I really want to this I had to think creatively about how I could raise the funds... and that's how I stumbled upon Future Finance. 

What is Future Finance?

Future finance are a company who specialise in private student loans. They were founded in 2014 based in Dublin and lend to both undergraduate and post graduate students. 

I initially considered whether I should take a loan from the company who offer very low repayments during time of study (as little as £5 a month) which then increases once you finish studying. The interest is higher than the Student Loans Company, but you can borrow up to £40,000, pause repayments and not be penalised if you pay off the loan early.

However, I then discovered that they were offering a Scholarship of up to £20,000 for someone to become an ambassador for the company... so I applied!!

What did I learn?

I was really fortunate to be shortlisted from almost 750 applicants to the final 15! Looking back on this I realise this is a huge achievement in itself and it was amazing that the Future Finance team bought into my values, goals and aims by wanting to complete this MSc where I can hopefully make a difference to those who are most vulnerable and cannot access basic healthcare. 

The response I received during the 2 week campaign was incredible. People I didn't even know or who I hadn't spoken to since school or university sending me well wishes and sharing the voting link with their networks was awesome and I am so grateful for everyone's support. 

I also realised how stressful campaigning and PR work is - constantly trying to promote myself and the work I have been doing was exhausting. You may follow me on social media like Instagram or Twitter and know I do regularly post on those channels, but for those 2 weeks, I did feel like a broken record constantly sharing my campaign. To be honest, after the 2 weeks I was a bit relieved that I could take a break and recover! 

So although I received 2200 votes over the 2 weeks, I didn't win. Congratulations to the winner of the Scholarship and the other finalists too. This result has not changed my determination in trying to find a way to make doing an MSc work. I'm working through options, Plan B, Plan C.... until I hit Plan Z. Being able to complete this degree and gain the valuable academic and research skills to make meaningful and sustainable change in the way we design and deliver healthcare services to socially excluded groups is my passion. I will achieve this. I know this because since this campaign everyone's support and words of encouragement has spurred me to keep going. 

Life is full of difficult times and hurdles but each knock down makes us stronger and more resilient. 

Thank you to the following for all your support in my campaign:

  • The British Dental Association
  • The British Society for Disability and Oral Health
  • NHS England's Clinical Entrepreneur Programme
  • Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management and all their fellows
  • Health Education England
  • Surrey & Sussex Healthcare Trust and their Postgraduate Education Team
  • NHS England Kent, Surrey & Sussex region
  • Guy's and St Thomas's Sedation and Special Care department
  • Newcastle Dental School
  • Kent Community Health Foundation Trust & their director of dental services Mark Johnstone
  • Community Dental Services CIC & their clinical director Michael Cranfield
  • Ignition Law LLP
  • Dentists of Instagram
  • Everyone who voted, shared with their colleagues, family and friends thanks so much!

If anyone has any ideas of how I can access other funds please leave a comment below!

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