In November P&G, the Proud Sponsor of Mums, launched the Champion Mums' Foundation: A campaign offering hardworking mums the chance to be awarded a bursary from a whopping £150,000 pot. The only stipulation was that the award had to be used towards making a positive difference to the winners' lives as mums, to their family or to the community. Here Nicola tells us what winning the prize meant to her...
Having your heart set on being a teacher is one thing, but achieving it is a whole different ball game, especially if you have a young child to look after.
Nicola Beal, from Farnborough, has always wanted to be a teacher and had nearly reached her goal when the arrival of her daughter, Imogen now nearly 2, meant she had to put her plans on hold.
‘I'd started my first degree after school but stopped as I really wasn't enjoying it. Then I went to work with autistic children at Lodden School in Hook. I loved it and realised I wanted to go back to uni and get a degree.'
Unfortunately Nicola couldn't afford to study full time, so she started a part-time degree at Reading University five years ago.
‘My husband Steve was very supportive, but things have been tough and my studies came to a halt when I found out I was pregnant. Now Imogen's a bit older, I'd like to finish my degree and then go on to complete my teaching qualification.'
Nicola picked up a copy of Now one day and saw the P&G Champion Mums' Foundation was giving away bursary awards to help mums and their families.
‘It seemed perfect. A bursary would cover my uni fees as well as childcare costs.
‘I was out shopping with a friend when I got the call and we were both so excited. I never thought I'd be awarded a bursary!
'This will make a huge difference to me and my family, as well as all the children I'll be able to help. Thank you so much.'