An art charity is desperately seeking students in order to give them money. The Nicholas Ann Trust, named after an art teacher and scholar, began an award scheme four years ago "to encourage the love of art in young people leaving school".
A travel grant of Pounds 1,000 and five book awards of Pounds 200 are on offer. Paul Ann, who runs the trust, has mailed more than 3,000 schools but had only 13 applications by the closing date of February 14 instead of the usual 70 to 80.
The mystified Mr Ann wonders what is happening in schools to merit such a poor response, and has put back the closing date to May 31. "It is to say the least unusual to be in the position of having difficulty in giving money away!".
He is inviting applications from students in their last year at school or college taking A-level, or an equivalent, in art. They should write a letter introducing themselves and their interest, accompanied by a proposal of not more than 1,000 words of the visit they wish to make and how they will report back to the trust - essay, annotated sketch book or photographic commentary.
A short list of six will be invited to spend a day at a London gallery having an informal interview, a guided tour and a reception.
Previous winners include a student who visited France and Italy to retrace the steps of John Ruskin; another went to Spain to examine the effects of the Civil War on the work of Picasso and Miro.
Details from the Nicholas Ann Trust, 34 Poplar Road, Botley, Oxford OX2 9LB.