SSA Bursaries: Students’ experiences

Former students’ accounts of how receiving an SSA bursary helped them:

‘Last year I tried to pay my fees using my salary but this was a constant struggle due to being on a low income. I tried to do this in instalments but yet again I was struggling. When I received SSA support last year I was able to continue my studies without the constant stress or the thought that I would have to withdraw from study. Since receiving support from SSA my grades have improved greatly and I am a successful student.’

‘I applied to SSA during a really tough time for me. I’d finished a drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme and was really motivated to re-train to work and research in the addiction field, but it was also a time of transition and uncertainty. I was moving out of the rehab into social housing, coming off of benefits and needing to find work, and I was really afraid that financial instability could hinder my studies or affect my recovery. The SSA have been so supportive, they’ve been generous with their grant and kind and straightforward in arranging it. I’m coming towards the end of my studies and I feel like I’ve been able to settle into a stable life, commit fully to my studies and actually enjoy the experience in a way I couldn’t have without the support of SSA.’

‘A massive thank you to SSA for providing me with the funds to be able to complete my Master’s course, finishing last year! I couldn’t have done it without the financial support awarded and now I have just published a book about women and alcohol on Amazon! Thanks :)’

‘Being awarded the funding was a huge weight off my shoulders because the family solely depend on my income… I was aware that I needed to improve my academic knowledge and background, to better equip me to cope with the challenging employment market in order to stabilise my family and the main factor that is still impacting on this ability is the financial difficulties… the funding award greatly helps to ease this burden… my anxiety, which in turn has, to some extent, affected my ability to perform as well as I would’ve hoped in University.
The funding awarded has enabled me to focus on my academic work and still be able to help my family whilst reducing the amount of stress I would be under.
In addition, the funding award also enhanced my understanding and willingness to complete the study.
The Society also provides… excellent communication facilities that provide easy access to contact the Society.
Within a couple of weeks, I received the funding award letter, I was able to feel relaxed and happy. I am very grateful for their understanding and support.’

‘I’ve been a recipient of the bursary from the Society for the Study of Addiction, to support my degree in forensic psychology. As a part of this degree, I am writing the dissertation which is a qualitative study about heroin addiction in prison.
Due to its relevance to the Society’s work and objectives, I applied for the bursary to support my studies.
The bursary is given to candidates whose degree is on UK university-validated and UK-based programme in addiction-related studies and who at the same time can demonstrate a career focus on addictions (eg, in a housing support agency, a prison etc).
The process of obtaining the bursary was straightforward. I had to complete the application form and provide a letter of support from my employer, confirming their commitment to support my learning. The communication with the SSA was excellent, with a member of their team always available should I have any questions or need clarifications. The decision on the award of the bursary was made promptly.
There are numerous benefits of applying for the Society’s bursary. Firstly, it offers financial support for your studies, which is always welcome, especially if you are combining your studies with part-time work. Secondly, when receiving the bursary you also become a student associate of the SSA, gain access to SSA journals Addiction and Addiction Biology, and get the chance to apply for reduced enrolment fee for the SSA’s Annual Conference. Thirdly, you become a part of the scientific community and gain great opportunities for networking. You are encouraged to apply for the presentations at the SSA’s conferences which provide a chance to disseminate your research work.
For the above mentioned reasons, I would strongly encourage you to apply for the SSA’s bursary if you are pursuing a clinical or academic career in the addictions field and are currently enrolled in addiction-related course.’

‘I grew up in a family of addiction and as a teenager I fell into the downward spiral as well. After many years of instability in many areas of my life, I was able to receive help through counselling which enabled me to step away from destructive behaviours which had been so present all my life. After working on myself (and continuing to do so) I realised I have such a passion to help others in similar situations to mine and through working in the homeless sector, it was evident I have a natural inclination towards counselling. Therefore, I decided to train in counselling but specifically in the addictions field. Receiving an SSA bursary has made possible what being on a low income would have made impossible for me. The bursary has enabled me to pursue a career in my passion, and for that I am very grateful.’

‘At the age of eight I became a mentor to my brother and a supporter to my mother who had complex issues with mental health, arising from my father’s substance misuse and the detrimental impact this had on our wider family. My father lost his life due to substance misuse at the age of 34.

Throughout my professional and personal life I have given my support and time to help other young people and adults; to gain appropriate supports, to build confidence and belief in their own abilities, to promote their aspirations and to encourage them to continue to hold hope, even when the most difficult of circumstances may present within their lives.

Over 25 years I have developed my skills, knowledge and experience, working in a wide range of paid and voluntary roles, with people of all ages, supporting complex vulnerabilities:
• Significant other with befriending, 12-step and holistic support programmes;
• Range of roles within recovery networks;
• Range of professional roles, advocating for vulnerable individuals and supporting transitions into specialist services (e.g. addictions, homelessness, mental / physical health, poverty and rehabilitation);
• Within my current organisation, identifying funding opportunities and strategic partnerships prior to establishing and operationally managing the Adult Support Service;
• Advocating for early and effective intervention for adults and their children.

My goal is to become a Specialist Addictions professional, using the experiences from my own personal and professional life to support others to learn and grow; not only to gain skills, knowledge and qualifications, but also to develop a deep confidence in their own abilities and their own worth. I aim to understand how policy is devised and adapted to be inclusive of experiences of vulnerable people and in the future to influence and impact change to ensure services are appropriate to the complex needs presenting.’

‘The SSA bursary has been extremely beneficial for me this year. Last year I was paying off my fees through some support of student finance and my salary, which was a constant struggle as I work part-time. This year has been amazing as I was able to continue to second year without any struggle. My passion for the addiction field started for me when I realised that my older siblings were abusing alcohol and cannabis. My curiosity arose to learn how the addictive mind function, so that I can be an addiction therapist to help assist clients. I am currently a substance misuse worker and my studies have aided me into providing the best support for the clients I work with.’


Click to go to SSA Bursary page.