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Harpur Trust



The Harpur Trust is here to inspire and support people in the Borough of Bedford to improve their lives, and we do this by:

  • Providing and promoting education
  • Creating opportunity through grant funding and partnerships
  • Breaking down barriers through support and grant funding

Using the legacy of Sir William Harpur, our founder in 1566, we offer support exclusively in the Bedford area, yet we are still one of the top 100 Charities in the UK¹.

We are governed by 26 trustees and they are legally responsible for all of our activities and to ensure that our charitable objectives are carried out. In addition trustees also sit on various school and/or sub-committees. Our trustees come from various walks of life and receive no financial reward for the time, support and guidance they provide.

Our almshouses

We have been providing Almshouses in Bedford for over 200 years. Our first ones, in Dame Alice Street, Bedford, were completed in 1802.

Today we have 24 flats at Harpur House, Bedford and 14 bungalows and cottages in Randalls Close, Bromham where our residents enjoy an independent lifestyle with the benefit of knowing help is close to hand whenever they need it.

Our almshouses are managed for us by Bedford Citizen’s Housing Association (BCHA) www.bcha.org.uk  To find out more about our accommodation you are welcome to call our Scheme Manager, Sue Bays on 01234 344556.  Sue will happily provide you with more information and can arrange for you to visit the Almshouses.

Co-sponsor of the Bedford Academy

We are proud to be co-sponsors, with Bedford College, of The Bedford Academy. The Academy opened in September 2010 and will occupy its new buildings on 5 November 2012. Serving a deprived area of Bedford that suffers from many challenges including high unemployment; the Academy specialises in Science and Technology and provides a free education for pupils of all abilities in the catchment area. For more information visit www.bedfordacademy.co.uk

Our History

The Harpur Trust stems from a gift of property in Bedford and London made by Sir William Harpur and his wife, Dame Alice, in 1566 to the town of Bedford. Sir William executed a deed of gift creating an endowment to sustain a school he had already established in Bedford. The endowment made provision for the marriage of poor maids of the town, for deprived children to be nourished and informed and for any residue to be distributed to the poor of the town.

We were founded by an Act of Parliament in 1764 and are administered under a Scheme sealed by the Charity Commission on 1 September 2000.






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