Leaving a legacy, looking to the future

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Logo: BASC

By Curtis Mossop, BASC’s Head of Pathways to Shooting

Curtis Mossop, author of article (BASC)
Curtis Mossop (BASC)

Leaving a legacy is something I’m sure most of us would love to do. There is a sense of responsibility to pass something on to the next or future generations – whether that be in the form of advice, treasured possessions or something of financial value.

Countryside users play a part in preserving the legacy of the countryside. We hold it in trust for those who will come after.

There’s a quote I’m reminded weekly of when I see it in the pages of Shooting Times – “The wildlife of today is not ours to dispose of as we please. We have it in trust. We must account for it to those who come after.” King George VI

As shooters, we have a duty to those who come after. A responsibility to inspire, guide, teach and mentor them. We owe it to them to impart important knowledge, to pass on wisdom and to prepare them so that after our time, shooting, the countryside and all that’s in it is left in good hands. We have an obligation to care for the countryside so it is fit for purpose for future generations and to prepare those who will fill our boots when we are gone to carry on the good work.

BASC does much to encourage and educate the next generation – we run a Young Shots programme, our pathways to shooting programme liaises with schools, colleges and higher education institutes and you can often, when the world allows it, find us at countryside shows with much to educate and entertain youngsters.

Hannah Thompson (BASC)
Hannah Thompson (BASC)

One element of that work is BASC’s Legacy Funded Scholarship Programme. The programme aims to support and encourage those wishing to develop their knowledge in conservation, land management or gamekeeping. It provides financial assistance to applicants where lack of funding obstructs education and future careers.

Through BASC’s legacy fund, this scholarship programme is able to make a substantial difference to those wanting to further their education. The programme offers an opportunity into a future of land management that might have otherwise been out of reach.

Launched in 2019, the trailblazing programme continues to grow and applications are now open for this year’s applicants. The application process will remain open until 15th June 2021.

There is no minimum award, however the maximum award to an individual is £4,500 a year. The maximum period of award is for the length of the qualification, or for three years whichever is the greatest and a maximum of two awards are given each year.

Eligibility criteria must be met, as must selection criteria and application requirements.

Last year’s programme saw double the number of applications than 2019 and the variety of courses which students were studying had 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. In 2020, we saw the number of female applicants rise 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 was fantastic.

One of 2020’s legacy scholarship recipients, Hannah Thompson, is using the funding to study a Masters by Research (MRes) at Nottingham Trent University in Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation.

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

Charlie Newman (BASC)
Charlie Newman (BASC)

“I hope that this work - looking at the efficacy of conservation dogs in the field - 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.”

Charlie Newman was 2020’s other legacy scholarship recipient. He is studying for a Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Land & Wildlife at Sparsholt College.

He said: “I am so incredibly grateful to BASC for this opportunity. To be able to use these funds for additional qualifications outside of my college course has really extended my skillset and provided a great foundation for my future career in deer and wildlife management. Having access to these additional learning opportunities is invaluable. The scholarship has also allowed me to cover costs for some of the specialist equipment needed.”

Charlie added: “The scholarship has enabled me to further my educational journey and hopefully put me a step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a wildlife ranger. In addition to the scholarship funding, I’ve had access to a broad network of contacts within BASC and the wider community.”

Logo: BASC Legacy

Inspired by his grandfather, Charlie is keen his own generation plays their part in leaving a legacy.

He said: “My generation are best placed to influence others through the likes of social media to ensure that the future of country sports and the industries that support them are secure for generations to come.

“I think we must adapt, embrace change and move forward in the modern world.”

For more information on the scheme, click here.

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