Harpur Trust announces £1.5m coronavirus support package for Bedford charities

David Steadman CEO Harpur Trust
David Steadman, CEO of the Harpur Trust

Bedford’s Harpur Trust charity has announced today that it is investing £1.5 million from its reserves to support Bedford charities through the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Chief Executive David Steadman said, “Bedford’s community spirit is one of the nation’s strongest, but COVID-19 threatens us all.

“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.  We’re talking to other local funders and the Council to work out how best to distribute the funding, and we will share more details soon.”

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

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Mohammad Yasin MP said, “It is 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.”

Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, said,  “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.”

Carers in Bedfordshire is one of the charities which can benefit.  It offers support and advice to 7,000 unpaid carers of all ages, many of whom have been severely impacted by the crisis.

CEO 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.”

Full details of how to apply for this £1.5 million fund are yet to be announced.

Urgent COVID-19-related support for Bedfordshire organisations of up to £7,500 is already available.

This emergency fund is 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 please go to www.blcf.org.uk/2020/03/23/bedfordshire-coronavirus-emergency-fund/ or visit the Harpur Trust’s website www.harpurtrust.org.uk

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