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Making a difference for 50 years – with even more to come

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Making a difference for 50 years – with even more to come

Published: 17 March 2022
Over the past half a century, our grants have enabled thousands of churches and Christian charities to achieve some incredible things.

We've helped transform Strawberry Fields into a training hub for people with additional needs, and helped to drive youth work in Cornwall’s rural areas. But while the buildings and projects we’ve supported across the UK and Ireland are varied, they’re all at the heart of local community life. 

We’re making a bigger impact

Over the past 50 years we’ve given over £235 million in grants; and in the last five years our charitable giving has grown significantly, with grants totalling £100m. 

In 2020 we awarded not only the highest value of grants, but also the largest number of grants ever in our 50 year history: awarding 1,509 grants to a wide range of Christian organisations. We’ve set up and run innovative grants programmes such as our Growing Lives programme to support children and youth work; our Covid response programme, Hope Beyond; and will soon be launching our exciting, new Brighter Lives mental health programme. You can take a look through our varied and impactful work in our news stories

We’ve come a long way since 1972

So how did it all begin? In 1887 the Ecclesiastical Buildings Fire Office was founded. After a series of fires had left parishes with ruined churches and no means of restoring them, its directors felt there should be a reliable insurance service for parishes in their time of need. When profits started to build up, the decision was taken to donate this money to charity in the form of grants. 

In 1972, Ecclesiastical’s ownership was transferred to a separate grant-making trust, called Allchurches Trust, an independent charity. To this day we continue to support good causes throughout the UK and Ireland from the profits generated by our financial services Group.

Responding to changing times

We’ve continued to offer funding and support, even through particularly challenging times. We were able to respond to the pandemic, offering reassurance to existing beneficiaries: grants worth £350k were awarded to charities responding to immediate and urgent needs. The Hope Beyond grants programme (which followed our emergency Covid-19 grants) awarded £5m across 700 different projects.

Looking forward to what’s next

The fact that we’ve been around for 50 years shows that the Trust is well run and resilient, with a funding model that’s robust. We’re efficient as an organisation, with just 4.3% spent on administering our grants. 

And now, for the first time, the Trust and Group holding company shares the same name: Benefact Trust and Benefact Group. Our name and brand change sets us up to do more and go even further over the next 50 years (you can read more about what’s behind our new brand here).

As one of the UK’s largest grant-making charities, our important work over the decades has had a profound impact on people’s lives. We’re looking forward to doing even more over the next 50 years to make a transformative difference to the communities where help is needed most.

Ready to apply?

Once you've identified which grant is right for you, taken a look at how to apply and formed a project plan, it's potentially time to start your funding journey
Children wearing life jackets sitting on a boat

Benefact Group's work

As a Trust, our ability to support and fund so many worthwhile causes, is made possible by the hard work of the award-winning specialist financial businesses that make up Benefact Group – which gives all its available profits to the Trust, sustaining our giving. As a part of the Benefact Group each business, whether it be in specialist insurance, investment management, broking or advisory shares the Trust’s ethos of giving back.