2020 Legacy Scholarship programme winners

Curtis Mossop

Curtis Mossop

Head of pathways to shooting. Curtis grew up in the Lake District and has over 25 years’ experience shooting. Starting out as a gamekeeper on a mixed sporting estate in Perthshire, he later moved to Sparsholt college to teach game and wildlife management courses before becoming a senior lecturer at Newton Rigg College in Cumbria.

What a year it’s been, especially for BASC’s 2020 Legacy Scholarship Programme. Applications for this year have closed and winners are now being contacted. Furthermore, despite the cloud of uncertainty cast by COVID-19, I am pleased to report that applications to the 2020 scholarship were double that of last year!

What is BASC’s Legacy Scholarship Programme?

Now into its second year, BASC’s 2020 Legacy Scholarship Programme was created to support people who want to develop their knowledge in conservation, land management or gamekeeping.

Financed from BASC’s Legacy Fund, the programme awards grants to help overcome potential financial hurdles which may prevent students from gaining an education and a future career in the land-based sector.

Rob Minty, conservation and game manager at Elveden Estate and interview panellist 2020 reinforced the scholarship’s ethos of combining shooting and conservation:

“On this estate we are proactive combining conservation and game management, they are fundamentally intertwined.

“The BASC scholarship programme is a positive move forward in educating and equipping future generations who will work within this sector.”

2020 applications

The 2020 Legacy Scholarship Programme has seen double the amount of applications, which is tremendous. The variety of courses which students are studying has also increased dramatically – nearly half of the applicants declared a conservation themed course of study and the remainder were gamekeeping related.

Furthermore, the diversity of applicants has broadened. This year we saw the number of female applicants rise sharply to around 30 per cent and we would love to see this increase more as the scholarship continues.

Additionally, we saw applications for University support for the first time which is interesting and exciting.

Shortlisting and interview process

Applications were narrowed down to just seven via an independent scoring system. The shortlisted were then interviewed by a panel of sector professionals using Zoom video.

Now, interviews are never an easy process. So, I was so impressed to see how well candidates did in a formal interview setting, some of which for the very first time. All candidates did phenomenally well, and they should all be very proud of themselves.

Cara Richardson, BASC Council member and Scotland Committee Chair who sat on the interview panel, said,

“The future of young people within fieldsports and conservation is of upmost importance to me and a key objective at BASC. The 2020 Legacy Scholarship Programme is extremely worthwhile and I am sure that those who leave legacies would be pleased to know the positive impact it has onto the lives of the beneficiaries”

The successful candidates

The two successful candidates to be awarded the scholarship for 2020 are Charlie Newman and Hannah Thompson.

Charlie is beginning the second year of his Level 3 Land and Wildlife course at Sparsholt College.

Hannah is using the funding to study a Masters by Research (MRes) at Nottingham Trent University in Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation.

She said:

“I am over the moon and extremely grateful to be awarded the legacy scholarship from BASC. This will enable me to pursue my dream of working dogs in the field of conservation.

“I cannot wait to start my project looking at the efficacy of conservation dogs in the field under the supervision of Dr Samantha Bremner-Harrison, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader, at Nottingham Trent University, and Dr Jacqueline Boyd, Animal Scientist and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at NTU.

“I hope that this work will enable us to make scientifically informed decisions about the use of working dogs as a fundamental, rather than a complementary, tool in conservation and species recovery in the UK.”

Looking to the future

I cannot wait to catch up with these two successful winners and see how they have been getting on with their chosen studies.

Missed out on the 2020 Legacy Scholarship Programme this year? There is always the opportunity to apply in 2021, so keep an eye out on social media and the website.

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