1. ITV Report

Yoko Ono helps students study in Liverpool

Yoko Ono to help students who've been in care Photo: Press Association

John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, has donated £100,000 to a Merseyside university to fund degree scholarships for young people who have been in local authority care.

The New York-based artist has extended the John Lennon Imagine Awards, which provides emotional and financial support to students at Liverpool John Moores University.

Ms Ono, whose husband was shot dead in December 1980, launched the Imagine awards in 2009, initially supporting 50 students who have no parents or close family.

Since then the scheme has grown to support about 200 undergraduates in each academic year.

Ex-Beatle Lennon was raised by his aunt Mimi in Liverpool following the death of his mother, Julia, in a road accident.

Ms Ono said: "When we set off down this path in 2009, I don't think we imagined just how effective this practical help would prove to be.

"Over the last three years we have witnessed the significant impact that the Awards have had on the students' self-confidence, achievements and future prospects.

"Our first set of students has now successfully graduated and they are in turn now helping to mentor those just starting out at the University.

"I know that these Awards, set up in John's name, have made a real difference to the lives of these young people and I am delighted and proud that John's legacy lives on in such a force for good."

The university's vice-chancellor, professor Nigel Weatherill, said: "We are extremely grateful for Yoko's continued support of this unique and vitally important initiative, the success of which has surpassed all of our expectations."

The university said statistically, care leavers have more chance of becoming homeless or ending up in the criminal justice system than going to university.

The latest available figures show that only 6% of care leavers were in higher education at age 19, compared with 40% of young people in the general population at the same age, LJMU said.