Headline sponsors of our Pride in Bedfordshire 2016 awards, The Harpur Trust, celebrates its 450th anniversary this year.
The trust, a charity dedicated to inspiring and supporting the people of Bedford borough, was founded by Sir William Harpur whose legacy continues to help residents of his home town improve their lives.
This is done today through providing and promoting education, offering help and relief to people who are sick, in need, hardship or distress and increasing access to recreational facilities which benefit the community.
Originally set up to support a small school for boys, with the remainder to provide support for poor people, the trust is now involved in a huge range of projects which offer something to all sections of the local community.
The main activities are:
Making grants to voluntary and community projects of all sizes. Last year it awarded more than £1.5 million to organisations making a difference in the local area.
Providing sheltered and extra care accommodation for older people in the borough. The trust has its own almshouses and has nomination rights to a number of extra care schemes which we have helped to fund.
Running the four Harpur Trust independent schools and providing over £2.5 million in bursaries to help lower income children attend those schools, sponsoring Bedford Academy and working with local state schools on a wide range of joint initiatives.
A spokesman for the trust said: “With 450 years of service to the people of Bedford behind us, our six-year partnership with Pride in Bedfordshire is relatively recent. But we’re delighted to be headline sponsors, sponsors of the Winner of Winners and Care in the Community Awards in 2016. What better way to continue Bedford’s charitable spirit begun by Sir William Harpur back in 1566?”