Philanthropic spirit is high as Trust distributes £1,071,818 in grants awards

Whilst Bedford and its residents were recognised and praised for their commitment to charity during the past year, being crowned the UK’s most generous town according to data gathered by JustGiving, the Trust’s grants committee were delighted to support this philanthropic spirit by awarding £1,071,818 in grant awards to 39 organisations and 20 individuals within Bedford Borough. This is the first year in which the Trust’s grant making has exceeded the one million pound barrier without making any large grants from its Major Projects Fund.

“Our increase in grant making was very welcome as, like most independent grant makers, we have experienced an unexpected drop in applications in recent years as austerity measures hit the local community”, commented Lucy Bardner, Grants Manager. “The quality and variety of this year’s crop of applications suggests that some local voluntary sector groups have used the recession to take stock and develop creative responses to emerging needs”. 

The Trust regularly reviews its grant making strategy and following the introduction of a one stage application form for small grant applications it has seen an increase in the number of grant seekers who have not applied to the Trust before.

The grants programme always supports a very diverse range of projects and this year’s beneficiaries have included:

£4,500 to the Retirement Education Centre

£30,000 to the Royal Mencap Society

£11,208 to the Families United Network

£49,500 (over 3 years) to Bedford and District Cerebral Palsy Society

£10,200 to the Bedfordshire Music Trust

A full list of last year’s grant beneficiaries can be found in the Trust’s Annual Report & Accounts www.harpurtrust.org.uk/aboutus

Over the past 10 years the Trust has awarded over £9.8 million in grants to local community groups and education projects, and as it heads towards its 450th anniversary in 2016 its trustees and staff are looking forward to supporting and inspiring future generations.