NINETEEN Peter Symonds College students have received a financial boost towards their gap year plans with the receipt of a bursary.

The grants are awarded to students undertaking altruistic projects which will benefit the communities they are visiting including New Zealand, Australia and Cambodia to Iceland, the US and Edinburgh.

This year’s students will be embarking on a wide variety of projects, including teaching in Tanzania, a medical volunteer programme in India, and wildlife and eco conservation projects in Madagascar and Iceland.

One student will be heading to Thailand to volunteer with an elephant conservation project and another will be assisting with a community development project in Kathmandu, India.

Jake Mace, the creator of last year’s popular performance The Babuska, has also received a bursary toward producing and performing another original production called The Girl Who Loved Stalin at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.

Charlotte Lockyer, who will be volunteering with the Red Cross in the War Memorial Children’s Hospital, offering rest-bite care to unwell children and their parents, said: “Living in a first world country, this opportunity will give me the chance to give back to those less fortunate. The bursary will give me the chance to volunteer in Cape Town for significantly longer than I could have otherwise”.

Principal Stephen Carville said: “We are immensely proud of our students and the challenges they have set themselves for their gap year. We wish them all the best with their exciting ventures.”

Much of the bursary funds are donated by charitable foundations –The Athinoula Trust, The Simon Clackson Award and the Claire Manning Award (the latter given in memory of a former Peter Symonds student who died in a road traffic accident). Annually upper sixth students at the college are invited to submit their gap year projects for consideration for a bursary, and all applicants are invited to attend an interview before final decisions are made and funds are allocated.