Charity in memory of Durham student Olivia Burt donates £26,000 to school pupils


Olivia Inspires, a charity founded in remembrance of Durham University first-year student Olivia Burt, has donated £26,000 to support young people in the New Forest area.

Olivia’s parents founded Olivia Inspires in 2019 with the goal of allowing “Olivia’s spirit to live on by helping young people in the New Forest to realise their potential”. The charity awards grants to 11-18-year-olds in the New Forest District Council area whose families are facing financial difficulties in order to support their development in STEM subjects, the arts and sports.

The 20-year-old Natural Sciences student at University College died in a tragic accident in Durham in 2018 when a metal barrier collapsed outside Missoula nightclub, now the Slug and Lettuce.

Earlier this year, a coroner agreed to adjourn the inquest into Olivia’s death and in September 2020 the Crown Prosecution confirmed that no individual or organisation would be prosecuted in relation to the case.

Every secondary school in the New Forest District Council area received funding from the charity during the first national Covid-19 lockdown. In total, more than £15,000 was donated to purchase laptops for disadvantaged students.

Other initiatives have included funding for a two-year wood management course for seven local year-ten pupils and a £4,000 grant to provide students at Hounsdown School, Totton with online maths tutoring.

Castle Community Action, a committee at Olivia’s college, recently donated £2,350 to the charity. In a statement on its website, the team behind Olivia Inspires expressed their gratitude: “The students fundraised during what has been an incredibly difficult and uncertain year and our thanks go out to everyone involved”.

Members of University College and the Durham University Sailing Club, of which Olivia was a member, are also set to run 500km from Durham to Lymington to raise funds for the organisation.

Chloe Swetenham, Commodore of Durham University Sailing Club (DUSC), told Palatinate: “Supporting Olivia Inspires is so important to Durham University Sailing Club to ensure Liv’s memory and her passion reaches and lifts up as many people as she did with us. We have used lockdown as an opportunity to fundraise via Strava challenges, which has been a great success and have loved seeing the money supporting other talented individuals.”

A friend of Olivia’s from DUSC said: “Liv’s bravery, her optimism and her kindness is something that remains with me – an ability to bring people together that her friends will forever remember, and that Olivia Inspires aims to continue.”

Image: Olivia Inspires

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