The Frank Buttle Trust

The Frank Buttle Trust

= The Trust’s Vision =

“To ensure that children and young people in desperate need are given a brighter future”.

The Work of the Trust

Founded in 1937 and operational since 1953, The Frank Buttle Trust is the largest UK charity providing grant aid solely to individual children and young people in desperate need. For over half a century, the Trust has helped many thousands of vulnerable children, young people and families throughout the United Kingdom. In 2006 – 2007, the Trust made 8,785 grants, totalling £2.7 million for child support, educational assistance and support to students and trainees. This was an increase of 25% on the previous year [The Frank Buttle Trust’s Charity Commission entry] .

The people the Trust helps are often in particularly difficult circumstances and may be experiencing significant deprivation. They may be estranged from their family, seriously ill, or experiencing a range of other social problems. Their need for the Trust’s support cannot be underestimated.

Grant Aid

The Trust provides support through the following grant aid schemes:

The Child Support Grant Scheme

The aim of the Trust’s Child Support Scheme is to meet the needs of children and young people in significant need, and in 2006 to 2007, the Trust made 8,298 Child Support grants, totalling £1.75 million.

These grants are intended to make a positive contribution to the lives of children and young people when their safety, health or development are at risk. The grants provide necessities such as clothes, beds, bedding and essential items of furniture and household equipment, and, on occasion, the Trust funds short-term therapy costs.

However, grants can be requested for a wide range of purposes, provided that the item (or service) to be funded is critical to the well-being of the child. Items that are merely desirable - rather than essential – will not be eligible for support. The Trust’s Child Support Grants are not in themselves life-changing, but they can have a major impact.

The Grant Scheme for Students and Trainees

The Trust’s Grant Scheme for Students and Trainees aims to help young people facing severe social, emotional or health problems to gain academic, trade, professional or vocational qualifications.

The Trust therefore provides support, particularly with living costs, to enable young people to undertake courses at universities, colleges of further education or other training institutions.

In most cases, Course or Tuition Fees will be met from statutory sources, and the Trust confines itself to helping with living costs such as rent, food, clothing, transport, books and materials needed for the course.

Applicants in Higher Education are expected to apply for the maximum student loan and students in further or higher education are also expected to apply for any additional help that may be available from the institution, e.g. bursaries and hardship funds.

The School Fees Scheme

The aim of the Trust’s School Fees Grant Scheme is to help meet the costs of schooling for children and young people with acute needs that cannot in practice be met within the state education system. The Trust’s assistance is available solely to children and young people who are facing severe social, emotional or health problems, and help is normally given only during the secondary phase of education. Short-term help is sometimes also available to enable children and young people to remain at a fee-paying school at a time of acute distress caused by the serious illness or death of a parent.

Two forms of assistance are given:Help with fees at a boarding school. Assistance is given when it is impossible for the fundamental social and personal needs of the child or young person to be met fully within the home. Such a situation may arise either because of the nature of the needs of the child or young person or because of the age or ill-health of those responsible for providing a home for the child or young person.Help with day fees. Assistance with fees as a day pupil is only offered when serious loss of self-esteem, suicidal tendencies or chronic school phobia has resulted from the failure of the state system to meet the needs of the child or young person, or to protect them from damaging situations, such as bullying.

The BBC Children in Need Small Grants Scheme

The Trust distributes grants on behalf of BBC Children in Need and welcomes applications from referring agencies throughout the United Kingdom on behalf of children and young people aged 18 or under who are in need. Grants are generally for such items as clothing, beds, bedding, washing machines, cookers and other basic essentials.

In 2007, online grant applications were launched on the [ Trust’s website] for Child Support and BBC Children in Need grants, streamlining the process and greatly reducing the response time. Guidelines for all of the Trust’s grant aid schemes are available on the [ Trust’s website] .

Research – a Strategic Approach to Children’s Problems

While the Trust sees its role in providing grant aid to children and families at times of critical need as being the cornerstone of its activities, the Trust also looks at more strategic ways to improve the life chances of future generations of children and young people, by influencing opinion formers, policy makers and practitioners.

One of the strategic ways in which the Trust has sought to establish the most effective means of helping children with specific needs has been through the commissioning of a number of research projects.

By Degrees: From Care to University

The Trust commissioned The [ Thomas Coram Research Unit of the Institute of Education] , University of London, to undertake this research project, the first ever research study of university students with a background in local authority care. The research project was funded by many external funders. The final report on the project, "Going to University from Care" ["Going to University from Care", Sonia Jackson, Sarah Ajayi, Margaret Quigley, Institute of Education, University of London 2005] , which was launched at a Conference in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in May 2005, can be downloaded from [ Trust’s website] .

Dyslexia Action Research Project

This two-year action research project was funded jointly by The Frank Buttle Trust and the [ British Dyslexia Association (BDA)] . The project raised the level of awareness of the needs of children with dyslexia in the state education system and the full Research Report "I'm glad that I don't take 'No' for an answer: Parent-Professional Relationships and Dyslexia Friendly Schools" ["I'm glad that I don't take 'No' for an answer": Parent-Professional Relationships and Dyslexia Friendly Schools", Carol Griffiths, Brahm Norwich, Bob Burden, [ The School of Education and Lifelong Learning] , University of Exeter 2004] can be accessed at:

Parenting on a Low Income: Stress, Support and Children’s Well-being

The Trust commissioned the NSPCC and the University of York to undertake this research project, which was funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The project explored the relationship between living on a low income and parenting. The final report: "Living with hardship 24/7: the diverse experiences of families in poverty in England" ["Living with hardship 24/7: the diverse experiences of families in poverty in England", Carol-Ann Hooper, Sarah Gorin, Christie Cabral, Claire Dyson, The Frank Buttle Trust 2007] can be downloaded from [ Trust’s website] .

Influencing Policy

The Frank Buttle Trust is a founder member of the charity End Child Poverty. The Trust seeks to influence government on public policy that affects children and young people, and works collaboratively with a number of other children’s charities to effect change for children

History of the Trust

Frank Buttle, the Founder of the Trust which bears his name, was a man of great vision and determination and a very colourful character. William Francis Buttle – always ‘Frank’ to his family – was born in Brixton on 19th October 1878. Soon after Frank’s birth, the family moved to Woldingham, near Croydon, and Frank was educated at Whitgift Grammar School.

Having first trained as a solicitor, his real ambition was to become a clergyman, and he went first to the University of Durham and then to Downing College, Cambridge. He was ordained in 1906 and was vicar of St Chad’s, Haggerston, in the London Borough of Hackney, from 1937 to 1953, when he died.

In December 1950, the Sunday Dispatch wrote of him: "People who do not know the Reverend William Francis Buttle feel sorry for him as he trundles his ancient bicycle through London’s East End or shuffles along the grey streets in shoes several sizes too big for him and clothes from which the linings hang in ribbons.

They do not know that he has amassed a fortune of £700,000, that he dreams of making a million, and that he will never touch a penny of it for himself. Canon Buttle, at 72, is the Church of England’s most fantastic Parson – solicitor, real estate operator and shrewd share speculator – a legendary figure who some call a saint, and some a miser. In 30 years he has built up two fabulous trusts which he claims will one day educate, maintain and send out to life 1,000 children a year who are either illegitimate or from broken homes."

A Vocation to Address Child Welfare Issues

Frank Buttle was perhaps the first person to challenge the abuses of baby farming – the taking in of infants to nurse for payment – and to offer the very practical alternative of adoption. On the outbreak of war in August 1914, Frank Buttle determined to devote himself to child welfare work, especially in connection with children rendered homeless and orphaned through the war. He formed the National Adoption Society, and by 1930, 3,000 adoptions had been arranged and a home for unmarried mothers was established in Surrey.

The Foundation of The Frank Buttle Trust

As the years went on, Frank Buttle’s activities brought to his notice large numbers of children for whom no adopters could be found, and his thoughts ran to helping their mothers themselves to bring them up, in addition to continuing to help adopted and orphaned children.

A complete ascetic and financial genius, he set about raising £1 million to establish the Trust, and when he died in 1953, he was only £80,000 short of his objective. Later that year, the full amount was raised and the two “Buttle Trusts” he had originally established in 1937 were amalgamated and became operational. The Trust now helps thousands of children, young people and families annually.

The Frank Buttle Trust Quality Mark for Care Leavers in Higher Education

Following completion of the By Degrees: From Care to University research project, and launch of the final report, "Going to university from care", the Trust worked with Universities UK, the Standing Conference of Principals, (SCOP), the Association of Colleges (AOC) and the Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education (AMOSSHE) to develop a Statement of Commitment to care leavers in higher education. This statement provides a charter through which higher education providers can demonstrate their commitment to supporting care leavers.

Adoption of this Statement of Commitment will mean that higher education providers will need to be more flexible in their support systems and to form active working relationships with local authorities to ensure that an appropriate plan is in place to support care leavers.

Leaving Care legislation places a statutory obligation on local authorities and Trusts in Northern Ireland to provide financial, practical and emotional support for young people formerly in care, for as long as they remain in an approved programme of education.

The Trust created a Quality Mark which recognises institutions that adopt the Statement of Commitment and go that extra mile to support students who have been in public care. Bill Rammell, Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning, launched the Quality Mark at a reception hosted by Lord Dearing in the House of Lords in June 2006. At the time of writing, thirty-one UK universities have applied for and been awarded the Quality Mark.


The Trust’s total income in 2006 – 2007 was £3,393,000 [The Frank Buttle Trust’s Charity Commission entry] . Every penny of all donations received was used for grant aid, as the running costs of the Trust are met by the return on the Trust’s investments.


External links

* [ The Frank Buttle Trust]
* [ The Frank Buttle Trust’s Latest Annual Review]
* [ BBC Children in Need]
* [ End Child Poverty]
* [ British Dyslexia Association]

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