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Homeless student photographer wins university scholarship


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A homeless man has being given a chance to change his life forever after winning a scholarship to a London university. 

Sam Adesayna, 29, was living at a YMCA hostel and had been taking photography workshops for three years through the social enterprise Accumul8, which offers creative workshops for young people without homes, when he was awarded the scholarship to Ravensbourne.

Sam was mentored by Ravensbourne students in the Accumul8 programs and had just applied to take the course himself when he learned that he’d won the scholarship at the opening of Accumul8’s new exhibition, “Moving Forwards”.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Sam said upon hearing the news. "I hope winning the scholarship will enable me to go forward and work towards a career in photography or something else creative.”  

Not only was he awarded a scholarship to study an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Creative and Digital Media at Ravensbourne, but he also will be participating in a work placement at creative consultancy BOP Consulting, the other funder behind the scholarship.

Sam previously lived with family, but became homeless after his relationship with his father broke down.

The program that Adesayna was a part of, Accumul8, was founded in 2013 after the North London YMCA hostel and Crouch End Festival partnered with local artists and craftspeople to run workshops for hostel residents.

Since its launch, Accumul8 has expanded to photography workshops at three hostels, taught by Ravensbourne tutors and students.

Ravensbourne is a specialist digital media and design institution, based in Greenwich in south London.

Marie Cumber, co-director of Crouch End Festival and work-based learning coordinator at Ravensbourne, says that these workshops are helping young people build skills and confidence, as well as giving them experience working in a team and towards an end goal. 

“The Accumul8 scheme gives hostel residents an opportunity to improve their confidence, communication and empathy skills as well as their general wellbeing. It gives them a lifeline, a focus and encourages them to develop aspirations for the future. It’s also extremely beneficial to our students who learn how to teach and relate to others from different backgrounds,” she says.

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