A charity says it has been surprised by a zero response to its offers of funding for science, maths and engineering.

One of the trustees says that some schools, including in Bridport, and other institutions, despite reminders, have not even acknowledged receiving the letter offering the help.

The Sir Samuel Mico charity was founded around 350 years ago and has traditionally helped towards the costs of apprenticeships in the Weymouth area – assisting with the cost of tools, protective clothing and sometimes fees. Over the years the support has widened to include helping find work placement or work experience and supporting some students at university .

Now, working with the Smallpiece Trust, the Mico Trust has been able to offer specific help for engineering students and those studying science, technology and maths subjects – but despite writing to all local educational establishments there has been no response.

“We haven’t had an acknowledgement, let alone a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ said Trustee Michael Wheller.

Amongst offers of support available through the Smallpiece Trust is a mentoring scheme as well as a fund to pay for tools for those taking relevant subjects up to the age of 25.

Mr Wheller says the work of the charities can help young people advance in careers they might not otherwise have considered, jobs which he believes are vital to economic growth.

“There was a time when advanced engineering was a bedrock in the local community, but it faded away and we are now at the point where many young people are not showing as much interest, said Mr Wheller.

The Trust has developed a three-stage programme in response to this which included ‘taster’ days, engineering ‘boot camps’, away days and hands on engineering opportunities, as well as the offer of two Arkwright Scholarships for specialist training.

Mr Wheller says that local schools in Weymouth, Portland, Dorchester and Bridport were all written to about what was on offer, with the letter also going to Weymouth College and Kingston Maurward College.

“We wrote the principals and to senior teachers involved in STEM subjects and we also did a press release in the Echo as well as adding the details to the Mico Trust website – but we’ve had no response. We just can’t understand it,” said Mr Wheller.

The Trust has since the first approach gone on to email key teachers at some of the establishments thought most likely to benefit, re-iterating that there was no cost and offering to meet up – but again with no response.

“I am, to say the least, disappointed. It’s an opportunity for local youngsters and I can’t understand why nobody seems to want to take this up.

“I thought that if we could get this rolling it might spread through the local community and perhaps we could see a resurgence in advanced engineering locally…this is not just for the brightest, but for everybody,” said Mr Wheller.

The charity annually supports about 120 local youngsters, spending around £50,000 a year in the community.

Mr Wheller says the offer is still there and is urging anyone interest to make contact through the charity website http://www.weymouthtowncharities.org.uk/ or by calling Gary Hepburn on 01305 548007.