The Dudley and Geoffrey Cox Charitable Trust



In 1979 the Dudley and Geoffrey Cox Charitable Trust (regd. charity no. 277761) was founded by the Cox family, associated with the Haymills group of construction and property companies. Its focus is on helping young people, medical research, welfare and poverty relief, with particular sympathy for geographical areas where the Haymills group had a presence, and projects with a technical training aspect.

In a typical year the Trust awards over £200,000 in grants.

The trustees formerly administered this themselves with no paid help. It had become a significant burden.

Our help grew

Initially the trustees turned to the Merchant Taylors’ Company for help with administration and being the Trust’s correspondent for the public and regulators. Over time this role grew as they appreciated what the Company could offer. When trustees retired, the board was happy for the Merchant Taylors’ Company to provide replacements with top-level business and professional experience.

Merchant Taylors’ Charity Management now provides day-to-day administration, including managing the grant-making process, as well as thorough briefings and papers for board meetings.

Greater impact

The board has worked with Merchant Taylors’ Charity Management to refine its grant-making approach. This has resulted in achieving greater impact and securing the Trust’s longevity. We seek opportunities where the Trust can combine grants with other managed charities, which substantially increases its strength and impact on the lives of people in need.

The Trust only funds registered charities. It does not accept applications from or on behalf of individuals.

Information for charities seeking funds from the Trust

In principle the Trust funds things in the following categories, (subject to the policy preferences below):

  • Category 1 – medical research projects; or
  • Category 2 –  things of benefit to young people; or
  • Category 3 – ‘welfare’ in the sense of improving the well-being, living conditions, comfort or general flourishing of particular groups of people who are burdened in some way. In principle this category is very broad, but obvious examples would be homelessness, being in prison, isolated elderly people, people in financial hardship, etc; or
  • Category 4 –  costs of formal education.

Sometimes we receive applications from charities whose main activity is to help people living with a particular illness, disability or developmental condition, typically by providing advice, advocacy services, caseworkers, etc. We would treat this as a Category 3 application, except for the rare cases where such charities also conduct medical research and the application specifically relates to funding that research.



Policy preferences for unsolicited applications: all Categories

The Trust does not fund:

  • applications from individuals (This includes where the application is to fund the individual’s cost of participating in a charitable activity, eg, environmental work outside the UK); or
  • unsolicited applications relating to beneficiaries outside the UK; or
  • unsolicited applications relating to environmental work, or animal welfare.


What is the rest of this guidance about?

The rest of this guidance explains our other funding policy preferences. These other policy preferences are not rigid rules implying absolute cut off points. However, we use these preferences to prioritise applications, bearing in mind that we receive many more than we can afford to fund. So the fewer preferences your application would satisfy, the less likely it would be to receive funding.

Policy preferences relating to education and training

The Trust does not accept unsolicited applications in Category 4  (costs of formal education). Hence the Trust never funds requests for help with particular individuals’ school, higher education or professional training fees. Its Category 4 funding is exclusively centred on a list of educational establishments where there is a long established link either with the late Dudley and Geoffrey Cox, or the Haymills group of companies, or with the construction industry generally. The Trust has no plans to extend the list. Category 4 funding tends to be in the form of scholarships or prizes for individuals . Current examples are:

  • Funding bursaries and prizes at Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood
  • Funding prizes for students on construction or engineering courses at a small number of UK universities.

However, in Category 2 (Youth) and Category 3 (Welfare) the Trust has a preference for applications relating to some type of training or education in the broadest sense of the term, even more so if it relates in some way to construction or engineering of any type, and more so again if most beneficiaries are likely to be drawn from backgrounds of financial hardship.


Policy preferences for Category 2 (Youth) and Category 3 (Welfare): geography

The Trust’s strongest preference as to geography is for work which mainly or exclusively benefits London boroughs with a postcode starting with W, SW, or NW. This is due to the historic connection between the Haymills group of companies and West London.

The second preference is work which benefits the whole or a part of Greater London, but is not covered by the first preference.

The third preference is the South East of England.

Local charities working outside these areas only have a chance of receiving funding in these Categories for something which directly involves training beneficiaries in an aspect of engineering or construction.

National charities only have a chance of receiving funding in these Categories if it is for either a particular project which falls within the first geographical preference above, or the funding request is very closely linked to engineering or construction.

(If your work is delivered mainly in London, you may also wish to consider whether your charity would be eligible to apply instead to Merchant Taylors’ Consolidated Charities for the Infirm).


Policy preferences for Category 2 (Youth) and Category 3 (Welfare): type of work you ask us to fund

Our first preference is to fund either projects with a clear outcome, or a proposal which in some way will help your charity become significantly more resilient, or more efficient, or better at achieving its charitable purposes, or which will seed a beneficial knock on effect beyond your particular charity’s beneficiaries.

However, we are open to funding general running costs (‘core costs’). If that is what your charity really needs, we would much prefer you to tell us straightforwardly than to try and shoehorn your application into the preference above.


Policy preferences: size of grant

In Category 1 (medical research), the Trust rarely makes grants exceeding £5,000.

In Categories 2 (Youth) and 3 (Welfare), grants are often in the range £5,000  – £20,000 in a single year. However, we are open to requests for more where an applicant’s proposal in some way will help their charity become significantly more resilient, or more efficient, or better at achieving its charitable purposes, or will seed a beneficial knock on effect beyond their particular charity’s beneficiaries.


Policy preferences for Category 2 (Youth) and Category 3 (Welfare): finances and size of charity

Our top preference is to fund charities with an annual income of less than £100,000. Our second preference is for charities with an annual income in the range £100,000 – £500,000.  We have very occasionally funded national charities where their proposal was to deliver a service mainly benefitting people in our top preference London boroughs, which we felt would make a big difference to those beneficiaries, and there was no one else likely to provide those beneficiaries with anything similar.


Funding in more than one year?

In appropriate cases we will consider ‘conditional track’ funding for more than one  year (though the Trust has not yet made a grant covering more than two years). Our standard grant award letter explains how this works, using an example based on two years:

“This grant is on our ‘conditional  track’, of which this is Year 1. This means that your charity is not guaranteed repeat funding in Year 2. However, we are hereby inviting you to re-apply for this specific funding purpose for Year 2, by way of the report on Year 1 referred to in the attached terms and conditions of grant. If in our Trustees’ opinion that report demonstrates satisfactory use of funds in Year 1, we would award you £X for this same purpose in Year 2….We require charities to leave at least one ‘fallow year’ after the final year named above, before lodging any fresh application for funding. We will enforce this rule even if your charity is in financial difficulties, the project we have funded is under threat, or employees might lose their jobs. The reason is to discourage dependence on our funding. We also hope that you use the years referred to above positively to build other funding sources. Lodging a fresh application in the year after the ‘fallow year’ might indicate that you had not taken advantage of that opportunity fully. We receive many more good quality applications than we can afford to fund, and cannot guarantee that any fresh application you submit would be successful. For these reasons, your charity should start planning well ahead how you would fund this purpose in Year 3 and Year 4, and perhaps indefinitely, without our support. Our Trustees will expect you to summarise your plan in your report on Year 1.”


Other tips for your application

If your charity depends heavily on a particular individual, you should tell us expressly what plans the trustees have in place to cope if that individual were forced to step back suddenly from their involvement by unforeseen circumstances – for example, a life-changing accident. Likewise if your charity depends heavily on volunteers to deliver its services – do you have a plan for coping if several volunteers had to drop out simultaneously?

Sometimes close collaboration or even merger with similar charities can be the best way to fulfil your charitable purposes. We will do an internet search for charities doing similar work to yours in a similar area. If you already know of such charities, it would help your application to explain the ways you already collaborate with them – or even to consider making a joint application.

We look carefully at your accounts on the Charity Commission website. If you have filed your accounts late in the last five years, you should tell us why.

If your proposal is about trying to create a new income stream for your charity, please ensure your application spells out the four most important assumptions in the business model.


Funding examples in Categories 2 (Youth) and 3 (Welfare)

Bloomfield Learning Centre applied for funding towards its general running costs. This small charity provides free or heavily subsidised specialist literacy teaching for children and young adults with dyslexia from economically deprived backgrounds in London, whose literacy needs have not been met by their schools and whose parents cannot afford private help. The Trust regarded this as an application which fitted both Category 2 and Category 3.

This application was attractive to the Trust for reasons including the following:

  • Based in a high preference geographical area.
  • Charity’s annual income was less than £500,000.
  • A low cost charity, with a committed board of trustees with a good range of useful skills and experience.
  • The teaching was delivered by staff with the highest level of dyslexia teaching qualifications.
  • The teaching was delivered one to one.
  • It met a very clear need.
  • The impact for individuals was transformative and life-long.
  • The application was about education and training in the broad sense.
  • Those taught were from financially worse off backgrounds.
  • The charity had clear and credible techniques for measuring how much progress beneficiaries were making.
  • The charity was taking sensible steps to reduce its reliance on a key individual.
  • The charity was not wholly or mainly reliant on one income stream. For example, it also raised income by carrying out dyslexia assessments for schools.

The Trust awarded £20,000 to the Bloomfield Learning Centre towards its general running costs.

Old Oak Community Centre applied for funds for staff costs towards a 1 year programme of enrichment activities for up to 300 children aged  5 to 12 living in the East Acton Estate and surrounding areas in West London. Parents were also encouraged to volunteer as adult helpers, to gain work experience and thus increase their employability.

The activities included a Youth Club for 8-12 year olds which particularly targeted socially excluded and disadvantaged young people. There was also a Tuesday homework club, a Wednesday ‘cook and grow’ club, and an ‘arts and crafts’ club.

Over half the children using the centre have free school meals (evidence of low household income), and many do not have help at home with homework because their parents do not have English as a first language and are not able to understand the homework themselves. The Centre is the only venue in the East Acton Estate and surrounding area providing free activities for children during out of school hours.


Applying for funds: how to apply

Applications by post or e-mail are not accepted, and will not be considered.

To apply for funds from the Dudley and Geoffrey Cox Charitable Trust, please use the online application form (see further below).


Applying for funds: when to apply, and when you will know the outcome

The funding timetable depends on whether your charity is a ‘Core Charity’ for the Trust, or ‘Non-Core’.


Is your charity a ‘Core Charity’ or a ‘Non-core Charity’?

In each of the Categories above, the Trust has longstanding relationships with certain charities whom the trustees regard as ‘Core Charities’. The Trust will have already expressly notified your charity if it is a Core Charity. If you have not already received such a notification, your charity is a Non-core Charity. 

The trustees will consider Core Charities for a grant every year, even if they have not lodged an application. It does not mean they are guaranteed to receive a grant.

Periodically the trustees review the list of Core Charities. A charity might be removed from the list if, for example, the trustees felt that the scale of its income meant that the Trust’s donation would be a drop in the ocean, or if they felt the charity was likely to raise the funds whether or not the Trust donated. Removal from the list does not imply criticism of the charity.

In a typical year, about half of the Trust’s grants are given to Core Charities. The rest are given to Non-Core charities – ie, unsolicited applications from other charities.


Timetable for Core Charities only

Core Charities will be considered for a grant annually, even if they do not lodge an application. However, there is no guarantee that all of them will be awarded a grant, so they may decide to lodge an application anyway in order to explain to the Trustees why a grant is particularly needed.

Medical Core Charities wishing to lodge a specific application should do so during the window 1st February – 31st August. Decisions are notified on 15 November, regardless of whether a specific application has been lodged.

Youth Core Charities and Welfare Core Charities wishing to lodge a specific application should do so  during the window 1st August  –  March 10th. Applications will then be shortlisted, and decided by Trustees. Decisions are normally notified on 30 April, regardless of whether a specific application has been lodged.


Timetable for all Non-core Charities, in whatever Category

Non-Core Charities should apply during 1st February  – 31st August. Applications will be shortlisted during September and decided by Trustees during October or early November. Decisions are notified on 15th  November.


Where to find the online application form

To apply for funds from the Dudley and Geoffrey Cox Charitable Trust, please use the Merchant Taylors’ Charity Management online funding application form.

Click here for the main page about charities managed by the Merchant Taylors’ Company.