British School Charity

What We Do

The British School Charity provides grants to support the education of children and young people in the Saffron Walden area.

Are you a young person, a parent or carer, a school, playgroup or youth group, or working with children or young people in any way? Do you need money to support an educational project? We may be able to help.

We generally offer grants of up to £5,000. For an exceptional project, we may be able to offer more.

What We Can Fund

We provide funding to support education for young people aged under 25 who are disadvantaged or have special educational needs or a disability, and who live in the Saffron Walden area, or have been to school within it or have parents who live there. The Saffron Walden area includes Linton, Steeple Bumpstead, Great Bardfield, Clavering and Great Chesterford. Please see this map for the exact area.

We can fund individuals who need financial assistance, and schools and other groups with an educational purpose. ‘Education’ includes sports, arts and music, and preparation for work as well as school subjects.

Support for individuals can include a contribution to the cost of fees or living expenses, clothing or equipment for attending a school or other educational activity, preparing for work, or travel with an educational purpose.

We can support schools and other organisations with any special projects to support children and young people who are disadvantaged or have special educational needs or a disability.

We can also support schools and academies with items, service and facilities to support their charitable purposes, provided that these are not usually funded in some other way

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

Our recent grants have:

  • Funded four LGBT young people to take part in a theatre project,
  • Bought books and equipment for children with special educational needs and disabilities at a local primary school,
  • Funded a first aid course for the 1st Saffron Walden Boys Brigade,
  • Funded 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,
  • Funded a young person to travel abroad to work with disadvantaged children on educational projects,
  • Helped pay for a sensory garden in a local school,
  • Paid for disadvantaged students to go on school trips or to take football training.

How to Apply

You can apply from now until 31 October 2020 for funding from 1 January 2021 onwards. Please use the British School Charity Application Form and return it along with any supporting evidence by email to If you have any queries regarding your application please contact

We will consider your application and let you know by the end of November 2020 whether you are successful.

If your need is exceptional and urgent we may be able to grant money sooner.

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.


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 Schools 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.