Our Year


Another strong year for the Trust

This has been a good year for the Trust and it is in good shape to face the challenges that lie ahead, whilst continuing to fulfil its charitable objects for its beneficiaries in Bedford Borough. Importantly, this year has seen the Trust develop and deepen its community engagement through its schools and in its other activities and we will seek to build on this in the coming years for the benefit of all the people in the Borough of Bedford.

The Harpur Trust is a complex organisation and its activities in Bedford are varied.   The schools form the largest part of our operations; together they educate 3,5666 pupils and have a combined turnover of £50m per year, funded entirely by the fees paid by parents.  They employ over 1,100 people and spend £2,490,000 annually with 286 suppliers and businesses in the Bedford area.  This contribution to the local economy is matched by the impact in the community of the staff and pupils.

The schools also fund their own programme of means-tested fee support.  The total cost of this bursary provision was £2.4 million in 2017/18.  We are also proud to sponsor the HEART Academies Trust which educates a further 2,400 pupils.

The year saw the completion of the first “Inspiring Leaders Programme”, a Trust initiative to prepare and equip employees for management roles.  The programme was an outstanding success and there was strong demand for places on the second course running in 2018/19. The Trust intends to improve it management practices continually and be an even more attractive place to work.

The Trust also committed £250,000 as capital to its first social investment, to be lent by a socially responsible lender to people excluded from mainstream finance, offering an affordable and cheaper alternative to pay-day lenders.

Our Year in Numbers

1st July 2017-30 June 2018 *unaudited figures


Total grants made in Bedford Borough


Relief Grants


Education Grants


Recreation Grants

Did you know?

  • £93 Million

    was the value of our Endowment

  • £2.43 million

    in means-tested Bursary awards were awarded

  • £77,600

    was the total sum awarded to local low-income students for University and College bursaries

  • £10,100

    was offered to provide state school uniforms for low income families

  • 1,115

    people were employed by us

  • 3,566

    Pupils attended our schools

  • 208

    Pupils at our schools received means-tested Harpur Trust Bursaries

  • 121

    Bursary pupils had over 75% of their fees covered whilst 20 received a free place

Our schools' activities over the year


Our Highlights

A selection of the key news stories from our year