King’s alumnus: ‘The Stormzy Scholarship has proved to be an invaluable award’

The first two Stormzy Scholars, Joseph and Drew, with Stormzy photographed for The Guardian by Karis Beaumont

King’s alumnus Joseph Vambe (KC 2018) was one of the first two Cambridge students to be awarded a Stormzy Scholarship, launched in 2018 to help alleviate the financial worries and transform the university experience of Black students from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

Five years on, HSBC UK has pledged a further £2m in support of 30 new Stormzy Scholars at the University over the next three years; the #Merky Foundation, the UK charity founded by the musician Stormzy, will continue to fund a further two students per year. It is anticipated that a total of 81 students will have received a Stormzy Scholarship by 2026.

Joseph, from south London, graduated in 2021 with a 2:1 in Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) and stayed in Cambridge an extra year to study for his Master’s. Now a fundraising and engagement officer for the charity Christian Aid, in May 2022 he was elected as a Labour councillor on Southwark Borough Council, representing the Chaucer ward in which he grew up. He is the youngest councillor on the authority.

He commented: 

The Stormzy Scholarship has proved to be an invaluable award as I progressed my studies at Cambridge. Throughout my life, the financial burden has always been a barrier to every great opportunity. This time was different – the Stormzy Scholarship alleviated that burden and I was able to pursue my degree without worrying about the financial costs which have proved so detrimental and burdensome, time and time again in my life. It is for this precise reason that I am grateful for the Stormzy Scholarship.

Find out more about the impact and expansion of the Stormzy Scholars programme in The Guardian and on the University website



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