North-South divide in grants from Trusts and Foundations

The following press release discusses the main findings from our research into trusts and foundations

No Northern Powerhouse for Charities: DSC finds huge north/south divide in grant-making from trusts and foundations

UK trusts and foundations tend to give where charities are based, not necessarily where social need is greatest – areas like the North East fare badly compared to London according to new research by the Directory of Social Change.

Sector Insight: UK Trusts and Foundations is the largest and most comprehensive analysis of charitable grant-makers in the UK to date. The report examines 2500 grant-makers, analysing their finances, what geographical areas they give their money to, which charitable causes they give to, and explores original survey data about how these funders operate.

Using data drawn from grant-makers’ annual reports and accounts, and other published information, the report demonstrates that while there is little correlation between the proportion of grants given to a region in the UK and its relative deprivation, there is a much higher correlation between the proportion of grants given to a region and the density of registered charities operating in the area.

An analysis of differences between English regions shows some particularly striking contrasts, and a strong bias towards London and the South East of England. For example, the level of income deprivation in the North East is the highest in England, yet it receives just 7% of funding from trusts and foundations. The South East is the least income deprived region of England yet it receives 13% of funding. These biases hold even when relative populations are taken into account.

While Greater London has the second-highest deprivation score in the country, it receives nearly one-third (30%) of all funding. The contrast between London and the North East is particularly striking: when grants are calculated per head of population, the North East receives two-and-a-half times less than Greater London (£5.57 vs £13.23). Yorkshire and the Humber and the East of England regions also do not fare as well in these comparisons.

Commenting on the findings, one of the report’s authors Dr Catherine Walker said: ‘Our analysis indicates that it is the fact that Greater London has the largest density of registered charities in the UK while the North East region has by far the lowest that accounts for a large part of the disparity between the grant amounts these two regions receive from trusts, despite their similar levels of deprivation overall. Grant-makers are left with a challenge when it comes to their geographical spend – to look beyond the picture of need painted by the local charity sector in any given area, to the real need on the ground, and act accordingly.’


For more information please contact Ciaran Price, Directory of Social Change by email ( or phone (0207 697 4295).