About us

We’re here to inspire and support people in the Borough of Bedford to improve their lives.

  • We give grants to local community projects
  • We support, promote and provide education
  • We offer accommodation for older people
  • We make social investments.

We are also Bedford’s 3rd largest employers with over 1100 staff.

Our grants

Each year we award around £1 million in grants to community projects in Bedford Borough.

Supporting our community by giving grants to local projects is core to what we do.  This money helps local organisations and individuals to make a difference to their own lives or those of others in the local area.  Details of grants made last year can be seen on Our Year page.  To see some of the projects we’ve supported visit our Making it Happen pages – maybe we’ve helped a group that you know.

Our schools

We own, manage and support the four, independent Harpur Trust Schools:

We are proud to be the sole sponsor of the HEART Academies Trust, which comprises Bedford Academy, Shackleton, Shortstown and Cauldwell Primary Schools and provides education for over 2,400 children.  The core aim of HEART is to create a family of academies who are at the heart of their community delivering great education and improving life chances for all.

Providing accommodation for older people

We have been providing accommodation for older people for over 200 years.    Today we have a mixture of our own accommodation and places at developments run by local housing associations to which we have made significant financial contributions, including Oakway House which  opened during the Spring of 2017.  We currently have around 50 flats across the borough and this will rise to approximately 70 in 2019 with the completion of our latest development at the Wixams.   Other accommodation within our portfolio includes Sir William Harpur House and Dame Alice Court.

Social Investment

In 2016, the Trustees agreed to designate £2 million for use in a programme of social investments. Social investment is the use of capital to invest in organisations whose activities will further the charitable objectives of the Trust, whilst also offering some prospect of financial return which can then be used to further help the people of Bedford.  This can be a very effective way of helping organisations that are working for the public good develop whilst making their activity more sustainable.