British School Charity

What We Do

The British School Charity provides grants to support the education of young people under the age of 25 in the Saffron Walden and the neighbouring area. We define education broadly to include pre-school, school, academic studies, vocational training, physical education and the expressive arts.

We offer grants of up to £5,000 to organisations to run educational projects and up to £500 to individuals to support their own education. In exceptional circumstances, and after discussion with the funding panel, small adjustments to these sums may be possible.

Groups and Organisations

We provide grants up to £5,000 to schools, playgroups, other early childhood education services or youth groups working with young people under the age of 25 to:

  • Run educational projects to support young people who are financially disadvantaged, have special educational needs, have a disability, have mental health issues or are otherwise marginalised. This can include the adaptation or provision of buildings and equipment.
  • Enable existing educational activities to become more inclusive for young people who are financially disadvantaged, have special educational needs, have a disability, have mental health issues or are otherwise marginalised. This can include the adaptation or provision of buildings and equipment.

To be eligible groups must be supporting young people under the age of 25 who live in the Saffron Walden area including Linton, Steeple Bumpstead, Great Bardfield, Clavering and Great Chesterford. Please see this map for the exact area.

Our funding must not be a substitute for usual state education finance, but it can supplement it.

To discuss your project and its eligibility further please email grants@bfss.org.uk

Individuals

We provide grants of up to £500 to individuals experiencing financial hardship and under the age of 25 to:

  • Purchase essential equipment or study materials required to pursue their education.
  • Undertake travel to further their education.
  • Purchase essential equipment required to enter a profession or trade after leaving education.

We cannot support:

  • Academic tuition fees.
  • Living costs.

To be eligible to apply for a grant individuals must be experiencing financial hardship, be under the age of 25 and they or their parents or carers must be currently living, or they must have attended a school in the Saffron Walden area including Linton, Steeple Bumpstead, Great Bardfield, Clavering and Great Chesterford. Please see this map for the exact area.

Evidence of financial hardship will need to be provided during the application process.

Parents or carers can apply on a young person’s behalf if the young person is under the age of 16 or are unable to apply themselves.

To discuss your application and its eligibility further please email grants@bfss.org.uk

Our recent grants have contributed towards:

  • The building of a ‘wellbeing cabin’ for Saffron Walden County High School students.
  • A LGBT theatre project for young people.
  • The purchase of books and equipment for children with special educational needs and disabilities at a local primary school.
  • A first aid course for the 1st Saffron Walden Boys Brigade.
  • A song writing project for students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and other minority groups to be run jointly by Saffron Hall and Saffron Walden County High School.
  • A young person travelling abroad to work with disadvantaged children on educational projects.
  • A sensory garden in a local school.
  • The fees for financially disadvantaged students to go on school trips or take football training.
  • The purchase of a C-Pen Reader for a child with learning difficulties.

How to Apply

You can apply at any time for funding, although Committee meetings are usually held in Spring and Autumn.  Please use the British School Charity Application Form and return it along with any supporting evidence by email to grants@bfss.org.uk.

If you have any queries regarding your application please contact grants@bfss.org.uk

If eligible applications exceed the available funding, we will weigh the potential impact of the funding requested on beneficiaries’ education and future opportunities. We may have to reject your application or offer partial funding.

Reporting

Successful applicants will be asked to provide a short report on how they spend their grant and what they achieve, as a condition for funding.

Fund Administration

The British School Charity and its fund is managed day to day by the British and Foreign School Society.  A local committee discusses initiatives and applications relevant to the needs of the area, and decides on applications for funding twice a year.

Our Values

The British School Charity believes that education is a driver for personal development and social improvement. The charity maintains a fund which is used to provide grants devoted to improving the education of disadvantaged young people. Our roots and history mean that our work is dedicated to the people of Saffron Walden and its surrounding villages.

Our History: George Gibson and the British Schools charity

The British Schools Charity exists because of a bequest left by George Stacey Gibson in 1899. Gibson was born in Saffron Walden in 1818. He was a Quaker, and although the Gibson family had been traditionally involved in brewing and malting, Gibson became a successful banker.

Gibson held wide interests, such as botany – in 1862 he published a complete list of the local flora. He was a family man, marrying Elizabeth Tuke, moving to Hill House on the High Street, and Elizabeth and he would have one child, a daughter called Mary.

He was also dedicated to playing an active part in the Saffron Walden community, and this became his passion. By 1859 he had become a Councillor, then Alderman in 1864, Guardian of the Poor Law and the Workhouse by 1865, and was twice mayor, elected in 1875 and then re-elected. He was a believer in the importance of education. He funded the building of what became the Saffron Walden Teacher Training College, and was involved in and an admirer of the work of the British and Foreign School Society.

When he died in 1883, his will was a true reflection of the communal, charitable and social manner in which he lived. It also included a bequest for “the education of the labouring and manufacturing classes in Saffron Walden”. This forms the basis of the current fund.

At his funeral in Saffron Walden 5000 people followed the coffin and his biographer wrote that he “left a deep mark upon his native town, a legacy which survives today” (Mr Saffron Walden – The Life and Times of George Stacey Gibson (1818-1883) by Jeremy Collingwood).

In 1988, the British School Charity was created and sealed by the Charity Commission using the original fund, and further updated in 1992.