About the Wessex Youth Trust

Foreword by TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex

TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex

Welcome to the Wessex Youth Trust. Whether you are someone looking to make an application, a potential donor or just browsing, we hope that you will find what you are looking for.

Our charitable trust was created in 1999 when we were married. Our focus is to help,support and advance registered charities which provide opportunities specifically for children and young people. Our aim is simply to respond to charities' real needs and enable them to fulfil their ambitions.

Over the years we have visited a great number of organisations, including those the Trust has supported, and never fail to be inspired by the people who run these charities and the work they do. However, we also know the challenges they face in trying to find the funds to help them achieve their goals.

Our Trust has developed a different approach to helping charities and those who run them - one that is based on partnership with corporations and individuals who have the same desire to help as we do. We believe that such an approach can play a crucial role in their evolution and sustainability.

Since it began the WYT has distributed some £1.3 million to over 154 charities, both in the UK and internationally, and we want to see its work continue. We are immensely grateful to our friends, supporters and partners, like Deutsche Bank, for all their help.

We are committed to building on this success and hope that you can help us and the Wessex Youth Trust to make a difference in countless more young people's lives.

Wessex Youth Trust

^ Back to top

An Introduction by the Chairman, Mark Foster-Brown

Wessex Youth Trust Chairman, Mark Foster-Brown

I have been chairing The Wessex Youth Trust since 1999. In that time we, as a Board of Trustees, have had the privilege of helping the most amazing charities, the individuals who run them and the countless children and young people who are the recipients of our donations.

The vast majority are small organizations which find it very difficult to raise money. However, I can say with absolute confidence that these donations make an enormous difference, and we hear this personally when we meet the recipient organisations. Our money is generally used on specific projects so that the effects are easily identified and evaluated. By 2006 the original capital generated from the media rights of the Royal Wedding had been distributed as intended, but the Trustees felt that the success of the relationships we had built up with the charities and our proven process of making effective grants should continue. In order to ensure a sound foundation for the Trust, I committed to raising an endowment which would generate an income stream to fund our grants in the long term. The ultimate aim would be to raise £3 million.

Great progress has already been achieved in meeting this target - but as with all charitable trusts, much more remains to be done. We are continuing our fund-raising campaign which involves working with individuals and corporate partners who want to help those charities who are very rarely in the spotlight, either because they are too small or simply do not have the money or expertise to market themselves. These are the organisations that deserve help. These are the organisations where a real difference can be made.

We would be thrilled if you could help us achieve this.

Please feel free to contact us you have any questions about our work.

^ Back to top

History of the Trust

The Wessex Youth Trust was set up in 1999 shortly before the wedding of HRH The Prince Edward and Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones. It was established to help, support and advance registered charities which provide opportunities specifically for children and young people.

These charities represent a huge cross-section of different youth-orientated causes and needs: from hospices, hospital beds and incubators to holiday clubs, sports organisations and outreach programmes; from inner city drop-in centres, child protection training and helplines to drug prevention schemes and sex education; from deaf, blind and speech impaired support groups and special needs libraries, to theatre, dance and music-related groups.

The Trust has provided seed-corn funding for innovation in the design and manufacture of disabled clothing, mobility and hospital equipment. It has also contributed to job-creation schemes and staff related costs within certain charities - enabling them to plan a sustainable future.

In fact, thousands of disabled, disadvantaged and disenfranchised young people the length and breadth of the UK have benefited in some form or other from Trust donations.

"...thousands of disabled, disadvantaged and disenfranchised young people the length and breadth of the UK have benefited in some form or other from Trust donations..."

Internationally, funds have been directed to a wide variety of organisations - a Downs Syndrome speech therapy centre in Moscow, and an orphanage in Chernobyl; a paediatric ophthalmology unit, training scheme and Flying Eye Hospital in Nepal and the Philippines as well as an HIV/Aids support programme in Uganda. In addition, donations have also been made to disaster relief operations - such as 9/11 and a children's home in Sri Lanka which helped victims of the 2004 Tsunami.

These are only a few of the organisations that as a result of the Trust's contribution have proved invaluable in positively affecting young people's lives in the UK and elsewhere in the world.

^ Back to top

How is the Trust managed?

The Trust is administered by an independent Chairman and Board of Trustees who meet on a regular basis to consider new applications, review progress of existing beneficiaries and monitor the use of all donations. As part of its rigorous management the Trust requires all applicants to comply with initial selection criteria. If this is achieved the charities are then sent a copy of the Trust's grant-making policy and asked to complete a specially designed application form which allows for transparent information processing and efficient decision making.

From these applications a shortlist of potential recipients is assessed and agreed on by the Trustees.

The charities are then contacted making clear that the acceptance of the donation is conditional on the submission of six monthly progress reports. The Trustees also make direct contact and arrange visits to the charities as well as attending any key events in their respective calendars.

The Board of Trustees convenes twice a year in May and November specifically to allocate new grants. The Trust is registered with The Charity Commission, and is administered by Mrs Jenny Cannon MVO.

^ Back to top

The Board of Trustees

Mark Foster-Brown has been Chairman of the Board of Trustees since the charity's inception. Previously he spent ten years as a member of the Special Projects Group of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. Mark is a Partner at Altima Partners LLP, a London based fund management company.

Robert Clinton was formerly Senior Partner at Farrer & Co and is involved with a number of other charities. Robert was appointed as a Trustee in March 2004.

Kate Cavelle is currently Head of Pro Bono and Community Investment at Allen & Overy LLP. Kate is also a Director and Trustee of the Angus Lawson Memorial Trust, an Ambassador for the charity Afrikids and a member of Alquity’s donations committee. Kate was appointed as a Trustee in November 2008.

Denise Poulton was formerly Group Director of Corporate Affairs at Orange plc. She is now Founder of Blodwen and a Trustee and non-executive director of a number of cultural and arts organisations. Denise has been a Trustee from the Charity’s inception.

Richard Parry is Senior Partner at Farrer & Co and was appointed as a Trustee in November 2009.

Francesca Schwarzenbach is patron and committee member of various local and national charities. Francesca was appointed as a Trustee in May 2012.

^ Back to top