Applications for a scholarship program that helps young people achieve their dreams are now open.
The Variety Heart Scholarships offer up to $5,000 to young people who are sick, disadvantaged or living with special needs.
The funds can be used to assist with costs tied to the nominee’s area of interest in either sports or the arts, including uniforms and equipment, coaching and lessons, travel expenses, and more.
After being awarded a Variety Heart Scholarship two years in a row, Cessnock’s Trinity Woodhouse knows just how helpful they can be.
“I still remember travelling back from my first ever Gympie Muster and my mum called saying she had a surprise for me when I got home,” she said.
“I was so excited to learn I’d won – music is what I want to do with my life, so this scholarship allowed me to continue chasing that dream.”
Without the financial support, Ms Woodhouse says she wouldn’t be where she is today.
“I remember there were a few songwriting retreats that I was really interested in, but the costs quickly added up and I just couldn’t afford to go,” she said.
“Plus, travelling for performances meant my parents had to take time off from work, adding to the strain.”
Like many recipients, Ms Woodhouse applied on the grounds of financial hardship.
“The funding meant I could fly down to Melbourne and attend the songwriter’s retreat I’d been dreaming about – I was even able to purchase my first electric guitar and get into a professional recording studio, thanks to Variety,” she said.
“Without the financial assistance, I probably would’ve needed to cut back on my guitar and vocal lessons and I’d be three steps behind in my career.”
Variety NSW/ACT Acting General Manager David Small add the scholarships have a lasting impact on the recipients.
“For many families whose child displays natural talent in sport and the arts, supporting their continued learning and progress comes with huge challenges,” he said.
“Whether it’s the increased financial demands of participation, the equipment required, the travel and care required for a child with additional physical challenges, or the cost of higher education in their field.
“Variety is about giving all kids a fair go and the Variety Heart Scholarships help bridge the gap and give these kids the opportunity to thrive.”
Ms Woodhouse is urging locals to apply for the scholarship.
“The only advice I can give is to just apply and see where it takes you,” she said.
Applications will close on 31 March, go to the Variety website for more.