A Barking and Dagenham student has won a bursary to study architecture at Central Saint Martin’s University of the Arts London.

Anisha Shibly is sponsored by Be First, the regeneration arm of Barking and Dagenham Council, and has been granted the funds through The London Neighbourhood Scholarship Trust (LNS).

The charity LNS aims to create a more diverse built environment in London by investing in architectural education.

It addresses the lack of diversity within the architecture profession by granting £15,000 architecture bursaries to young people from disadvantaged London neighbourhoods.

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In 2023, Be First became a neighbourhood partner of the LNS to offer support and mentorship to Anisha, contributing two-thirds of the bursary.

The remaining £5,000 was funded through social contributions from architecture firms that Be First collaborates with.

Anisha Shibly said: "I'm honoured to be accepted onto the London Neighbourhood Scholarship Trust scheme.

"This will allow for my architectural journey to gain wings, turning my aspirations of becoming an architect into a reality.

"I look forward to learning [..] how to channel my creativity into designing places that benefit local communities."

Anisha grew up with a passion for creativity and sculpture, which transformed into a love for architecture driven by a meaningful personal experience.

Following the death of her father in her teenage years, Anisha's grandfather designed a community mosque in his memory.

This sparked Anisha's appreciation for designing spaces with deeper, emotional resonance.

While attending sixth form, Anisha participated in the Open City Accelerate programme, which also benefitted from Be First's sponsorship.

This cultivated her passion for architecture, teaching her essential skills such as technical drawing and model-making.

Amandeep Singh Kalra, associate director of Place & Design at Be First, said: "This is exactly the type of initiative that you can't help but smile at – it's been an absolute delight working with Anisha to help her realise her dream of studying architecture."

Sally Lewis, founder of LNS, added: "On behalf of the LNS, I want to extend a huge congratulations to Anisha and our other scholars for 2023.

"I'd also like to thank Be First for becoming a neighbourhood partner in 2023."