The Hedley Foundation
The Hedley Foundation is a grant giving charitable foundation which supports small to medium sized charities which work with young people.
The Hedley Family and The Hedley Foundation
William Hedley was born in Newburn, Newcastle in 1773 and went to school in Wylam, 8 miles to the west. He became a colliery manager at the age of 22 and was one of the leading engineers trying to improve the system of transporting coal by horse power along wooden trackways. Cast-iron plate rails (with the flange on the rail rather than on a wagon wheel) were laid at Wylam Colliery in 1808 and William Hedley developed the system of coupling of wheels which gave locomotives with smooth wheels sufficient adhesion, even on smooth rails, to haul a train of loaded wagons. This he patented in 1813, the year in which he also unveiled his famous locomotive, Puffing Billy, with a revolutionary and reliable design to carry power to the coupled wheels.
Puffing Billy marked a major stage in the development of railway locomotion. George Stephenson, generally credited as "father of the railways" (and also brought up and living in Wylam, though it was said he and Hedley were not the best of friends) did not produce his Rocket until 1825. Puffing Billy remained in use until 1862. Although they later moved to the Lake District, William Hedley's descendants remained coal mine owners until nationalisation in 1947.
The Hedley Foundation was set up in 1971 and endowed from a family trust of which the principal asset was the compensation received on nationalisation. It is a registered company and a charity.
The principal aim of the Trustees' grant-making is to effect change for the better in the lives of young people. It follows that most grants will be of a capital or one-off nature, but the Trustees sometimes agree to help fund the introduction of new and innovative projects with a series of up to 3 annual grants. Few grants exceed £5,000 and most of them go to charities where they can make an impact. We do not support large or national appeals, core funding, salaries or running costs.
Within the main objective, the Foundation makes grants according to its published criteria, which are reviewed from time to time.
The Hedley Foundation is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales as number 1018571. It is a registered charity number 262933.
The latest published accounts of the Foundation as at 31st March 2017 show general funds of £36 million. Approximately two thirds of this is invested in retail property with a high net yield; and the balance in stock exchange investments. With the use of reserves, grants totalling £821,980 were made.