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MARCH 2021

With both Oxford and Cambridge picking up steam again as the Third UK Lockdown gently winds down, we plan to go back to work on our plans to create a Noon Scholars Alumni Association.

Feedback from our current Survey of alumni (please find it here if you have filled it in yet!) reveals a very strong, almost universal, interest in a possible ‘mentoring’ scheme. This could be achieved via a common noticeboard linking those seeking mentors with former Noon Scholars willing to take on the role.

We could also explore a sort of ‘buddy-up’ system. The trustees will discuss these and other ideas further at their forthcoming annual in June – when we will also select our 2021-22 scholars. We will also want to find ways in which former Noon scholars can be invited to “give back”, in whatever ways possible, but especially to maintain our work and support for future young scholars.

The trustees have felt increasingly challenged in recent years in the face of ever-increasing overseas student fees, the 2008-9 recession, and now the Covid-19th pandemic which has hit the Trust’s endowment income. We are simply not able to support as many young scholars as we used in past decades. If you have thoughts or ideas on these and other themes linked to the VNEF, let me know before our June meeting so it can form part of those discussions.

With All Good Wishes,

Dr Paul Flather

Chair, VNEF

Fellow, Mansfield College, Oxford

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