Scholarships, Grants and Awards

Several scholarships are available to assist those with MS:

Mastering Mountains Grant

Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant

Dorothy L Newman Scholarships

Esme Tombleson Awards

Outward Bound


Mastering Mountains Grant

A grant created by the Mastering Mountains Charitable Trust and MSNZ with the aim of:


‘assisting people who have been diagnosed as having either Multiple Sclerosis or Functional Neurological Disorder, to overcome a specific obstacle so that they can achieve a specific outdoor pursuit’.


This scholarship helps people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) to pursue adventures that encourage a healthy lifestyle and challenge the perception of their condition. The Mastering Mountains Charitable Trust was established in 2015 and exists to enrich the lives of people affected by MS and FND, by helping them to get outdoors. The focus of the grant was expanded to include people with FND in 2020. Getting outdoors is better for everyone, and can improve the quality of life for people with neurological conditions.

Applicants are required to state:

  • Why did you chose your selected activity?
  • How will the experience benefit you?
  • What obstacles will you need to overcome to complete the activity?
  • What steps are you planning to take and how will you prepare for the activity?


Application Deadline:

  • 1 September – 31st October annually (Mastering Mountains Grant – NZ based challenges)

Application Form:

Mastering Mountains Application Form [Word Doc]

Mastering Mountains Application Form [PDF]

Application Guidelines: Mastering Mountains Grant Guidelines (2020)


Past Recipients: Mastering Mountains Past Recipients

You Can Get Outside With MS Leaflet 2018


Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant

The Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant aims to assist people who have been diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) to participate in an overseas outdoor expedition or adventure with World Expeditions.

World Expeditions has over 40 years of experience in providing responsible and exciting adventures for a wide range of skills and abilities. Mastering Mountains and World Expeditions are working in partnership with them to make this an amazing and unique experience.

Successful recipients will be mentored by the Mastering Mountains Trust to become community leaders that share their knowledge, help others problem solve and create dynamic community. The Grant recipient will also undertake an extended outdoor adventure that will challenge notions of possibility with MS or FND. Together, we will work to affect change in the MS and FND communities, helping others overcome their obstacles and get outdoors.

You may already have an idea where you’ve always dreamed of going or if you are undecided check out all the adventures on offer here.

To apply for the Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant and to participate in one of World Expeditions incredible adventures, download the application form below.

Application Deadline:

    • 1 April – 30 June annually (Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant – Overseas challenges with World Expeditions)
    • PLEASE NOTE: applications won’t be accepted this year, due to the uncertainty of international travel because of COVID-19. Instead, we encourage people to plan local challenges and apply for the Mastering Mountains Grant later in the year.

Application Form:

Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant Application Form [Word Doc]

Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant Application Form [PDF]


Dorothy L Newman Scholarship – Currently not accepting applications

The Dorothy L Newman Scholarship assists people who have been diagnosed as having MS and as a result are unable to continue in their present employment, who need to change their employment and undergo a course of retraining in order to do so.

Applications are open solely to people with MS needing to retrain for paid employment.

Applicants will be required to explain in a statement in their application the reasons why they chose their course of study, how they intend to use their qualification on successful completion of their course and the likelihood of employment following the course.

Application Form:

Application Guidelines: Dorothy Newman Scholarship Guidelines

Past Recipients: Dorothy L Newman Scholarship Recipients



Esme Tombleson Awards

Esme Tombleson was the co-founder of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand in 1961 and from 1975 was President for many years. She was also founder and president for many years of the Gisborne branch and on the International Federation of the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s executive. In 1987 she received the rarely awarded gold medal for distinguished services to Multiple Sclerosis.

In honour of her work, the MS Society of NZ offers the Esme Tombleson Award annually to people in New Zealand for the ‘Person with MS of the Year’ and ‘Caregiver of the Year’, which are announced at the MS Society AGM.  The nominations for this award are organised through the Regional Societies and co-ordinated through MSNZ every September.

Application Deadline: 30th September annually


Person with MS of the Year

Application Form:

Application Criteria: PwMS of the Year Criteria

Application Deadline: 30th September annually

Past Recipients: Esme Tombleson Person with MS Past Recipients


Carer of the Year

Application Form:

Application Criteria: Carer of the Year Criteria

Application Deadline: 30th September annually

Past Recipients: Esme Tombleson Carer of the Year Past Recipients


Outward Bound – Activate

3rd – 10th February 2021

Activate is an adapted course to enable those aged 18+ with a physical disability to experience the challenge and adventure of an Outward Bound course.

The course is designed to assist students to test their boundaries, break physical preconceptions and build confidence.

During your 8 day course in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds you’ll take part in challenges to help you build the tools to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself in every day life. Activities include rafting, sailing, high ropes, camping and more!


Eleven participants who have a physical disability are accompanied by 3 support workers and 3 Outward Bound instructors.

Past participants have included those with Multiple Sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis and amputees.
All participants should be able to independently manage their personal care, transfers and medication.

We are able to offer 2 places to wheelchair users and 1 place for person with visual impairment.
Please refer to FAQs on our website for further student entry criteria.


We have a range of funding opportunities available. Get in touch with our Enrolments team to discuss your options.

For more information or to apply for a scholarship, email Caroline Campbell or phone 0800 688 927.


Outward Bound – Aspire Scholarships

Not currently open

Aspire is a low impact version of the Outward Bound’s Discovery course which is suitable for people with a mild to moderate physical impairment. Participants will experience activities like sailing, rock climbing, kayaking and high ropes, but Aspire is designed to exclude high impact activities such as running or carrying a heavy tramping pack. Past participants include people with arthritis, early onset multiple sclerosis, joint replacements, back injuries and amputations.

Is Aspire suitable for me?
Participants need to be able to take part in a full day of activities with rest breaks, comfortably walk a minimum of 2kms over uneven terrain and get up and down 5 flights of stairs. You will also need to be able to sit without back support, for example in a kayak, and be comfortable in and around the water.

Is funding support available?
Outward Bound runs scholarships for each Aspire course, so keep an eye out! There is full funding available for Work and Income clients, and this includes travel to and from the course. They also encourage people to book and fund raise for their course – Outward Bound will support you with this process. If you would like to do the course but aren’t sure how you’ll pay for it – just give them a call.

For more information or to apply, email Caroline Campbell or phone 0800 688 927.

“When you have lead a very active life and suddenly lose some of your physical strength it is a great loss of confidence, but the Aspire course gives you the tools to take charge of your life again and know that anything may be possible.” Annette


Outward Bound – Leaps & Bounds Activate

14th – 21st April 2021

Leaps & Bounds Activate is an 8-day course for teens age 13-16 years and their parent or caregiver. The maximum group of seven pairs will learn about themselves and each other in a supportive environment. You and your teen will develop trust and respect and a more meaningful relationship. Experience working in partnership as part of a wider team.

You & your teen will experience:

  • Outdoor and physical activities such as high ropes, camping and journeys at sea.
    The exact programme is a surprise but there will early starts, late nights and lots of fun
  • Active reflection and workshops exploring what you leant from each activity
  • Three qualified instructors
  • Living, sleeping and working in a team with 7 other pairs from all over New Zealand

Some nights will be spent staying in a bunkroom at the school in Anakiwa and others exploring the Marlborough Sounds

The course includes:

  • Specialist activity and safety equipment
  • Food and accommodation for the duration of the course
  • The option to borrow clothing. A gear list will be provided.You will need to pay for your own medical and travel costs.


  • Develop an understanding of each other’s strengths and capabilities
  • Gain trust, respect and a more meaningful connection with each other
  • Experience working in a partnership and as part of a wider team
  • Push your own self-imposed boundaries and support your significant other as they push theirs

A better understanding and appreciation for the outdoors.

Participant Requirements

All participants must be:

  • Able to communicate clearly
  • Experienced spending time away from home
  • Able to participate in a full day of physical activity with rest breaks
  • Comfortable in and around the water, including having head under – lifejackets available
  • Able to meet general Outward Bound screening guidelines
  • Willing to give things ago

Disabled participants must:

  • Have had at least a 1-year adaptation period since becoming a disabled person

Caregivers/parents must be:

  • Able to walk/run 3km in 30 minutes
  • Able to support the personal care of their teen
  • Willing to fully participate in all aspects of the course

Participants in a wheelchair must be:

  • In a manual wheelchair (electric wheelchairs are not suitable for a course)
  • Able to transfer from the ground to their wheelchair
  • Be under 85kg

NB: Due to technical equipment requirements, the course can take a maximum of two wheelchair users, two participants using crutches/frames and one participant who is blind or visually impaired.

Participants could include those with both congenital and acquired physical disabilities e.g. muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, amputations, arthritis.

Safety & Supervision

The course will have three fully qualified instructors and will operate within the standard safety policy of Outward Bound. Student wellbeing is our priority.

Students will have shared accommodation in their watch-house but separate (male/female) bathrooms while in the school.

We require all participants at Outward Bound to complete a medical, which is valid for three months from the date of the doctor visit and must be valid for the duration of the course.

Travel Notes

The course will start and finish at the Interislander terminal in Picton.

More Information

Please contact Caroline Campbell – Adapted Course Manager
Tel: 0800 688 927 or 021 0226 3645

For more information or to apply email Caroline Campbell or phone 0800 688 927. Outward Bound Activate Flyer

“I have taken away a stronger belief in my abilities and greater determination to achieve in my chosen career.” Samuel Tate


Outward Bound – Insight

Not currently open

The Insight course is for those with a visual impairment – supported by The Blind Foundation. Participants will spend time discovering themselves and their values, challenging ingrained limitations of what is possible, and form lifelong friendships along the way.

The courses are designed to be mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging. Activities occur in all weather conditions and can include off-track tramping, camping outside (sometimes alone), whitewater and sea kayaking, running, sailing, swimming, rock climbing and high-ropes.

Applications must be made directly with the Blind Foundation.

Course criteria:

  • 18 years or above at course start
  • Can participate in a full day’s activities; including walking for a full day
  • Be comfortable in water and getting your head under water. Life jackets are available.
  • Can attend without your carer or guide dog. You can bring a personal cane.
  • Have experience away from home and can work in a team environment

To apply or inquire, please email Trent Francis or phone Trent on 09 355 6886.

I am now feeling more like the confident person I was before I developed this eye condition. It has made me look at people, especially those with disabilities, in a whole new light.” Dena