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Fund marks 10 years of support for University of the Highlands and Islands students

By Andrew Dixon

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Mike Robertson.
Mike Robertson.

More than 400 students have received support from a student development fund which has reached its 10th anniversary.

The University of the Highlands and Islands' scheme is designed to allow students to take advantage of personal development opportunities in connection with their course that would otherwise be missed due to financial constraints.

To mark the occasion, the university has created an online gallery of recipients.

Mike Robertson, a Highland Theological College UHI graduate from Inverness, said: "I received a grant from the student development fund supporting my personal costs to lead a team of volunteers to help sponsor and run a summer respite camp for children and families affected by disabilities in Romania.

"The grant enabled me to engage in work on the ground and learn simultaneously, while I was still a full-time student. I’m still involved in leading trips annually with the church and over the years, a wide range of people have been directly impacted by the fund's grant. It has literally helped change mine and many others lives, and I will always be very grateful."

Alison Wilson, head of development at the university, said: “This milestone is an ideal time to reflect on what the fund has accomplished. Grants totalling over £165,000 have now been awarded, made possible by kind donations from businesses and individuals.

"The impact of those gifts has been huge. They have helped our students to feel supported, encouraged, and motivated to succeed. They have provided unforgettable development experiences, opened minds to new ideas and helped develop connections with new people and places. They have allowed students to work in local communities and on research contributing to global social issues.

“Looking to the future, we want to continue to help many more students access unique learning experiences and we can only do so by securing new donors to fund future rounds of support for our students. No matter what size of donation, it really makes a difference and if any local business or individual feels they would like to help in some small way I’d be delighted to hear from them.”

Dedicated donor Thomas Prag, who received an award for 10 years of regular giving to the fund, said: “It came as a bit of a surprise to find out that my regular small donation had been going for so long, but perhaps that’s the point – £5 or £10 a month is relatively painless and builds up, if enough of us do it. I particularly like being involved in helping students do things outside their course work – it’s what being at university is all about.”

To find out more about making a donation, email development@uhi.ac.uk or visit www.uhi.ac.uk/en/development

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