The Harpur Trust unveils £1.5m boost to Bedford charities

Apr 17, 2020

CHARITIES in Bedford are to receive a further £1.5 million boost from local charity The Harpur Trust.

It announced today (Friday) that it is investing £1.5 million from its reserves to support charities in the town through the coronavirus pandemic. 

The funding is in addition to the £1 million already committed to support local charities and schools through its grants programme this year.

David Steadman, chief executive of The Harpur Trust.

“Bedford’s community spirit is one of the nation’s strongest but COVID-19 threatens us all,” said The Harpur Trust chief executive David Steadman. “We want to play our part in helping people in Bedford through the current crisis, and to support community organisations whose future may be at stake. 

“Sir William Harpur’s gift held in trust for Bedford was made for times like these.”

The trust is talking to other local funders and the council to work out how best to distribute the funding. Full details of how to apply for this £1.5 million fund are yet to be announced. 

The announcement has been welcomed by MPs, Bedford Borough Council and by local charities and voluntary groups.

Carers in Bedfordshire is one of the charities which can benefit. It offers support and advice to 7000 unpaid carers of all ages, many of whom have been severely impacted by the crisis.

Its chief executive Chris Stelling said “Charities are under even more pressure than usual, with huge increases in need alongside a reduced ability to raise funds. This money could provide a much-needed lifeline for many organisations like ours and we are grateful to The Harpur Trust for their ongoing support.”

Bedford MP Mohammad Yasin said: “It has been truly humbling to see the Bedford community coming together to support each other through this very difficult period. The £1.5 million fund from The Harpur Trust will make a real difference in offering help and relief to the many people in our town suffering because of this devastating disease.”

Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough.

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson added: “This is a very welcome addition to the support already being given by so many generous people and organisations across Bedford. It is great to see our biggest local funders, including The Harpur Trust, working together to support people in Bedford through this emergency.”

Urgent COVID-19-related support for Bedfordshire organisations of up to £7,500 is already available thanks to a partnership between Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation, the Harpur Trust and other funders.  

For more details on this existing fund and to apply, visit or the Harpur Trust’s website


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