Chancellor’s Fund: Q & A with Thomas Ainsworth

Money isn’t just a worry for students; it can also become a burden. You have to make your money go a long way for you, but there comes a time when there are things that you need your budget just won’t cover.

There are a few options available, but the Chancellor’s Fund might just be the one that can help you. Set up in 2013 by the University, it gives students access to grants to make the most of new opportunities and improve their employment prospects.

Students are able to apply for grants from between £100 and £1500, to be used for a multitude of different reasons, including covering travel costs to obtaining specialist equipment. That’s exactly what second year Music Technology student Thomas Ainsworth did, and unCOVered caught up with him just before he was due on stage.

U: Hi Thomas! 

T: Hello!

U: How are you?

T: Great thanks, just about to go on stage and perform with some of my new kit!

U: So, let everyone know how you went about obtaining your new kit.

T: Every drummer will tell you that a hi-hat is an essential part of a drum kit. I already had high-end cymbals before and listed that on my application, except for a decent hi-hat! So really, it’s imperative to have an equal standard of cymbals for a drum kit, so I applied to have a new hi-hat that would give me that balanced sound I wanted. I also asked for a new double-bass pedal as my previous one was worn out. It ensures I can play faster and longer!

U: What sort of music do you play?

T: I’ve played in a few bands in different genres, but the new hi-hats will give me a better sound when I’m performing with jazz bands as they’re subtler. In 2014 I was in three bands, with a couple of side projects too, each with a different style. It was important that I had a fully adaptable kit. I work with other students on my course, especially guitarists and a band called ‘Animals As Leaders’ who are a progressive metal band; they use a lot of heavy bass and broken rhythms which the new equipment has helped me massively with.

U: How simple was the application?

T: Very easy! You just fill in a simple form and explain what you’re applying for and why. For my application, I linked to the items I was currently using and the items I wanted to purchase with the grant. It took about 10 minutes to apply, very simple. Once the deadline had passed it didn’t take long to find out that I was successful.

U: How did you find out about it?

T: I didn’t know a lot about it at first, and a few people on my course had asked if I had applied so I went away and researched in to it a little bit more. Once I had, it seemed like a really good project, a good idea

U: So when you sent your application of, did you think you’d be hearing that balanced sound you longed for? 

T: I was a bit skeptical. I wasn’t sure how my request would come across – would it come across as just ‘he doesn’t want to pay for them himself?’ What I think helped was showing on my application how much I would use them, use YouTube links of me playing on my current equipment. Pieces of kit are subject to a lot of wear, but cymbals of this quality don’t lose their quality, and will help decades down the line in my career!

U: What advice would you give to a student who is thinking of applying?

T: I would say make your application realistic and relevant to your course and back up your application with loads of detail. Remember to include any evidence showing why this will help you. It’s quite easy to just put a few links and hope for the best, but investing that time in to doing your research and finding the exact figure you need, will help. Obviously there’s a limit to how much can be given away and for things like laptops, then it’s pointless as every student has access to borrowing laptops from the University. So many people ask for things that they don’t need, they just want!

U: How did you feel when you found out you’d been successful?

T: I got a phone call, I was so excited – I told my housemates, my girlfriend and of course my mum!

U: Finally, what do you hope to achieve after you’ve completed your studies?

T: I want to continue networking with other musicians then hopefully become a working musician – a session drummer, working on tour with other artists.

U: Thanks Tom!

The Chancellor’s Fund ensures every penny raised through the appeal goes back the students and the project is all about giving our students ‘every chance to succeed’ as small things can make a large difference.

The introduction of the fund enabled the University to reach parts of student requirements that could not be reached by any other means. Last year over 1,400 applications were received for financial support with £45,000 being awarded to students.

To find out more information, or to apply for, the fund simply visit our website.