Teenager’s talent wins over ‘dragons’

Alfie Parker receives his grant funding from Worthing Homes chairman Chris Polden SUS-140819-154634001
Alfie Parker receives his grant funding from Worthing Homes chairman Chris Polden SUS-140819-154634001

A TEENAGER has taken a step closer to his theatrical ambitions after he was awarded a grant to help him attend a prestigious university.

Northbrook College student Alfie Parker, 20, was offered a place at the Royal Academy in London but could not afford the hefty fees.

After hearing of his plight, Worthing Homes, which owns the property Alfie and his family have lived in all their lives, created a new grant scheme, which will part-fund his tuition to the tune of £3,500.

The ‘Worth Fund’ will now be available to other worthy causes going forward.

Alfie, of Pentland Road, Worthing, said: “It’s amazing news. I can’t wait to get started now.

“From the moment I saw the Royal Academy, I knew it was for me.”

The teenager and mum, Karen, approached Worthing Homes after he was offered his place at the academy earlier this year.

None of its existing grants was suitable but seeing his potential, the organisation decided to set up the Worth Fund.

Alfie still had to audition in an X Factor-cum-Dragons’ Den-style pitch, in front of a panel of four judges.

Housing director Moira James said: “After hearing of Alfie’s plight, we looked at our existing grants and sponsorship but felt that they didn’t suit this kind of request.

“We decided to set up the Worth Fund in order to help local people realise their ambitions and give those that might not be able to an opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

Alfie initially planned to attend the academy audition to gain experience for applying to other drama schools.

But admissions tutors expressed an interest and he was invited to perform for renowned singer Mary Hammond, who founded the academy’s course, the next day.

Alfie needs over £14,000 to fund the course tuition and has now raised in the region of £10,000,

The course is the only one at the academy which does not offer a scholarship, and Karen believes student loans are not available for the course.

Karen said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that Alfie has been given the money by Worthing Homes. We still have a way to go, though.”

More details will be released about the Worth Fund in November.