About The Earley Charity

The Earley Charity is one of the largest local grant-making charities in central southern England. Its object is the relief of need among elderly, disabled or poor people living in our area of benefit. The Charity’s terms of reference also make it possible for us to fund community, educational, informational, cultural, sporting, recreational and social initiatives.

Area of benefit

The area of benefit of The Earley Charity is defined as "the Ancient Liberty of Earley and the neighbourhood thereof". In practice this means all of Earley (Lower Earley and "old Earley"), the northern part of Shinfield, Winnersh, south Reading (including Whitley), east Reading (including Newtown), central Reading (as far west as the Reading West railway line), Sonning and lower Caversham.

See our map

The Trustees are only able to consider applications from individuals living in the area of benefit and organisations working within the area.

What we don’t fund

To comply with our objects there are some activities that we cannot fund. To avoid wasted effort and disappointment we list here the principle areas which The Earley Charity does not fund:

  • Post-graduate education
  • General running/living costs
  • Core costs
  • Open-ended salaries
  • General appeals
  • Religious activities
  • National organisations operating in the area of benefit without a local office
  • General public sector appeals (apart from in a few very exceptional cases)
  • Applications from outside the area of benefit

Who do we help?

The Charity makes grants to local individuals in need. These grants generally take the form of purchases of equipment, goods or services. Applications are welcomed from:

  • elderly citizens in difficult circumstances
  • carers or people with disabilities who need some financial help
  • those in housing need
  • individuals on low incomes or in poor health

These grants do not normally exceed £400. However, larger grants may be made to provide specialist medical or therapeutic equipment and occasionally for essential building work and repairs.

The Charity makes grants to a wide range of local charitable, voluntary and community organisations working within our area of benefit. Applications should be for one-off non-recurrent funding for a specific purpose. Grants are normally in the range £500-£5,000. Larger grants may be made to organisations which the Trustees know well.

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Other grant-making programmes

The Earley Charity has a long history of supporting young people to learn a trade. We therefore welcome applications from people undertaking this type of training.

Douglas Chilvers Memorial Bursary
In memory of one of our Trustees, Douglas Chilvers, a bursary has been set up to provide funding to support talented local musicians.

From time to time the Trustees select an aspect of the Charity’s objects to focus on. Currently we are focussing on support to older residents of our area of benefit. Further information can be found on the Current Focus page.

The Earley Charity prides itself on its proactive work in the local voluntary and community sector. We make a number of grants for which application cannot be made. The principal ways are listed here:

Major partnership grants: on a small number of occasions we will initiate a grant to a local group which the Trustees know well. The prime example of this is the funding for the building of the Earley Crescent Community Resource Centre.

Earley Charity Workers: we have created an innovative scheme of Earley Charity Workers in key organisations in the local voluntary sector. Earley Charity workers are advance-funded on a rolling programme, always at least two years into the future. Posts are currently funded at Berkshire Women’s Aid, Earley Crescent Community Resource Centre, Reading International Solidarity Centre, Reading Voluntary Action and Weller Centre.

Trustee-led grants: Trustees of the Charity may propose one organisational grant each year on the basis of their own knowledge of local voluntary, community, sporting or cultural organisations. Lobbying of Trustees will disqualify an organisation.

New Developments

2010 saw the launch of a new programme of grant-making to promote all aspects of cultural life within our area of benefit.  The Arts, Culture and Heritage programme funds group activities and has four key elements: sounds; words; shows and objects and places.  Full details of the programme can be found on the Arts & Culture page.

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