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Grant Making Policy


The Trustees make discretionary grants where they believe that their contribution will make a real difference. Applications are welcome from eligible applicants from all areas of the UK; however, since the Settlors - the late Mr and Mrs Steel - lived in Bedfordshire, applications from Bedfordshire generally, and Luton specifically, are particularly encouraged.


Applicant eligibility

Applications will be considered from:

  • Charities registered in any part of the United Kingdom
  • Organisations that have recently applied for charitable status in the UK
  • Exempt Charities (see schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011) such as recognised educational institutions
  • Government or municipally-funded museums


Applications will not be considered from:

  • Individuals
  • Charities registered outside the UK
  • Political parties


Grant purposes and restrictions

Very few restrictions are imposed on the purpose for which a grant may be used; applications for support towards capital projects, other projects or core costs are, therefore, considered. However, the Trust does not fund expeditions or projects that promote religion.


The Trustees prefer applications to fall into one of the five core categories below, although applications that fall outside these will be considered in exceptional circumstances: 

  • Arts and Heritage
  • Economic or social disadvantage
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health


Grants are generally made as single payments between £2,500 and £25,000.


A list of recent grants made is available in the most recent Trust's accounts on the Charity Commission website.


Application process and expectations

The Trust receives many more applications than it has funds to support, and in recent years, approximately one eighth of applications received were successful.


Applications are normally considered according to the timescales shown:


Applications received in…

are reviewed in…

and the outcome given by...

November, December and January



February, March and April



May, June, July



August, September, October




Applicants are encouraged to submit applications early in the application period to allow more time for their review. All applicants are notified whether their application has been successful or not. Successful applicants are usually paid in the month following the meeting. In some cases, grants are awarded in instalments over a period of years, usually with progress reports required between instalments. A follow-up report will be expected within 10 months of payment from any applicant in receipt of an award of £20,000 or more.


Applicants that are unsuccessful may re-apply to the Trust from 12 months after the date of their most recent application. Applicants that are awarded a grant must leave a year following the date of the final payment before applying for another grant.



Application is via the online application form on this website only. Please do not write to the Trust as an alternative or supplement to this. Supporting documents may be uploaded via the application form. All applications submitted online will be acknowledged.


A new data protection law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018, came into force in May 2018. The Trust collects minimal personal data from applicants – only that which is necessary to administer the application – and we do not engage in marketing activity. Applicants are encouraged to read our Privacy Policy before completing the application form.