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Harpur Trust


 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 History

In 1566 Sir William and his wife Dame Alice created an endowment to support the education of poor children at Bedford Grammar School which he had helped to establish in 1522 and which was later to become Bedford School.  Any money left over was to be used to provide dowries for the ‘poor maids’ of the town, and to be distributed amongst the poor.

Today, our activities are still inspired by Sir William Harpur’s vision. He understood the value of education, and he saw the real needs to be addressed among the disadvantaged, poor and sick in his home town of Bedford.  These ideals have evolved over the years and have shaped the three charitable objects we work to today:

  • The promotion of education.
  • The relief of those who are sick or in need, hardship or distress.
  • The provision of recreational facilities with a social welfare purpose.




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