Mary Carmichael Fund

Our aim is for SScOT courses to be accessible to all children who wish to take part. With this is mind, we hold a dedicated fund, the Mary Carmichael Fund, which offers financial support to those who would not otherwise be able to join us on the summer course. Occasionally we receive funding to offer larger bursaries – all the information about this year’s financial support is on this page.

Mary Carmichael was the Director of SScOT from its inception in 1984 until August 1998. She left SScOT a generous bequest which has been used as the basis for a fund which enables us to offer a number of bursaries each year for children to attend the summer course, as well as helping us to commission occasional new works.

Please note that we are usually only able to make a partial contribution to course costs, though we are fortunate to have some full bursaries available in 2023. Some schools and local authorities are able to help with the cost of attending SScOT courses, and some areas have local charities which may also help. Please ensure you have fully researched other funding opportunities before applying to the Mary Carmichael Fund – we are happy to help you with this.

2023: Full Bursaries available

We are delighted that the Scops Arts Trust and the Rhona Reid Foundation are generously sponsoring five full bursaries in 2023 for young musicians who would not normally be able to attend SScOT due to financial pressures. This might include:

  • Families on low incomes, e.g those with children in receipt of free school meals
  • Those for whom prohibitive travel costs might deter them from attendance (e.g from Orkney, Shetland or the Western Isles, and other remote regions)

We are particularly interested in hearing from those who meet one of the above criteria and:

  • who may not have regular access to large ensemble playing at home
  • who play rarer instruments (oboe, bassoon, viola, double bass, trombone, tuba) at grade 5+

The bursaries fund the full cost of course fees (normally £550), including accommodation, meals and all tuition and activities. They do not cover travel to and from the course, or tickets to the final concert.

Successful bursary recipients are required to attend the full duration of the course and to uphold the standards of behaviour required by SScOT. They will be asked to write a short report on their experiences at the end of the course which will be passed on to the relevant funder.

We expect to receive significant interest in these bursaries. The decision of SScOT is final and in order to protect the privacy of all applicants we will not enter into discussion about the allocation process before or after decisions have been made.

All unsuccessful applicants will be considered for partial financial support from the Mary Carmichael Fund.

To apply for a full bursary please email [email protected] by 31 March 2023 with “Full Bursary Application” in the subject line with the following information:

  • A covering letter outlining your personal circumstances and how your child would benefit from participation in SScOT’s summer course. Please include a summary of any other musical activities that your child is involved in, and any efforts you have made to research other sources of financial assistance. The more detail you can give us, the easier it will be for us to assess whether your child is eligible for a bursary.
  • A letter from your child’s school confirming whether they, or the local authority, are able to provide any financial assistance and confirming that they feel your child would benefit from, and contribute to, the course.

Applications will be considered in early April with decisions communicated by the end of the month.

Information provided in your application will be shared with the assessing panel which may include member of SScOT’s Board of Trustees and Management Committee. In no circumstances will it be shared with third parties. The names of successful applicants will not be published at any stage without the express consent of the families concerned.

We would ask you to consider carefully whether a full bursary is most appropriate for your needs. We are able to offer a number of alternatives, including payment of course fees by instalments, and partial financial support provided by the Mary Carmichael Fund. We are keen to ensure that no one is deterred from attending SScOT so please feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss your options.


Bursaries are only available for the Summer Course, not for Play Away Days. Please feel free to contact Arlene on [email protected] to discuss your application for support. You will need complete an application form for the summer course alongside applying for financial support.

Once the application has been submitted, please email the following documents to [email protected], or post to 4 Strathearn Road, Clarkston, East Renfrewshire, G76 7TY

  • A letter from the participant’s parent or guardian outlining the reasons for applying for a bursary and detailing any financial support they anticipate receiving from any other source.
  • A letter from the head teacher of the child’s school confirming whether they, or their local education authority, are able to offer financial assistance, and confirming that they feel that the child would benefit from, and contribute to, the course.

Bursaries will be awarded purely on the basis of financial need, and each application will be considered on an individual basis. The deadline for receipt of applications for bursaries is normally March 31st each year.  Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application during April.

SScOT relies on donations from trusts, foundations and individual giving to ensure we can continue to thrive for years to come. We welcome donations both towards our general running costs, and donations specifically for the Mary Carmichael Bursary Fund. Donations can be made by sending a cheque, payable to SScOT, to Arlene Macfarlane at 4 Strathearn Road, Clarkston G76 7TY; or you can donate online at our Totalgiving page.

Gift Aid Declaration Forms are available for tax payers who would like to increase the value of their donation.


Families living in rural areas should consider applying to the Agar Trust for financial support:

Other organisations supporting young musicians include Awards For Young Musicians and the Wrightson Trust