Your Donations Make A Difference

As the Disbursement Committee review the applications and decide who will be awarded the bursaries, awards, hardship grants, sponsored graduation prizes and PhD studentships for 2013/2014, we look back at 2012/2013.

Thanks to our generous alumni and corporate donors, RREF were able to award £121,000 of funding to students in 2012/13 in the form of bursaries, awards, hardship grants, sponsored graduation prizes and PhD studentships. This financial support makes a huge difference to our students. It can help those who would otherLucy Dowlingwise be unable to continue their studies due to their financial circumstances and can be the lifeline they need when they have nowhere else to turn.

Many of you will have heard Lucy Dowling, MSc graduate 2013 and graduate surveyor at CBRE speak at the Annual Dinner this month and share her own personal experience of how the Hardship Fund helped her during her time at Reading. It was the only time the room was silent all evening, so we felt this was worth sharing with all of our alumni…

I have been asked to say a few words tonight about my experiences of RREF as a Masters student. I promise to keep this brief, but I do owe the foundation and everyone who contributes to it a personal thank you. It's a cliché to say it, but I literally wouldn't be here otherwise.

When I arrived at Reading I planned to continue the job which had helped fund my undergraduate degree. I've always valued working alongside my studies, not just because students have precious little else to do with their time, but I feel it keeps your mind fresh and gives a greater depth of experience than university life can do alone.

After my first term at Reading, the challenge of trying to balance this job, my studies and the endless barrage of graduate applications was becoming all too much. The strain was beginning to show in my academic results and I knew some of my applications I was sending off weren't as good as they could have been.

My first port of call was to my parents, who straightaway agreed they would increase their financial support for my following two terms at Reading. Shortly after this though, my father's, who has Parkinson's, health deteriorated, and he was unable to continue to work. Inevitably my parents could no longer support me as they had wanted to.

It was then that I applied to RREF for financial help. I was granted a bursary very quickly, and the time frame in which RREF was able to help me was far sooner than I was expecting - Wonga doesn't have a patch on them!

I was then able to fully concentrate on my studies and my job applications, without being so stretched.

My results were published earlier this week and I was over the moon! Without their support I have no doubt that I would have been disappointed.

Along with the financial help which RREF was able to provide for me I also benefitted from the use of a mentor providing help with interviews and the application process. The advice I received was invaluable and the sort of advice my parents, who don't work in property, would never have been able to give me.

The evening lectures delivered by corporate patrons provided excellent opportunities for all potential graduates to speak to companies and get a real understanding of the industry. Alongside this the careers fair and other RREF events including the Rugby, volunteering for this dinner last year, meeting my peers' mentors were invaluable and now that I have started work, I can begin to appreciate just how key all of this support is - A unique opportunity for Reading students. It's fantastic to be able to join an industry already armed with a network of contacts, not just of my peers, but of people at all stages of their careers.

So thank you once again to everyone who has an involvement in RREF. It's a fantastic organisation and I would urge any of you who have thought about contributing anything at all, to realise that it really does make a difference to those like me, who have been lucky enough to receive their support.

Further information

If you are interested in supporting RREF activities, including student financial support, please contact Jane Symmons or call +44 (0) 118 378 4096.


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