Adult School Trust

Each year this local charity makes a number of modest grants to support the work of community-based groups catering for the educational and personal development of adults.

The trust (more fully: The York Friends Central Adult School Trust ) has its roots in the adult school movement, which began in many areas of Britain in the nineteenth century and was closely linked to Quakers. 

The schools combined the teaching of reading and writing for adults with bible study. They were pioneered in the city by local Quakers, including members of the Rowntree family, from 1848 on. 

By 1906 the schools had over two thousand members in the city, and the work had spread to include other educational and leisure activities such as a library, allotments, interest groups and a social club. (You’ll find more information about the York Adult Schools on the Rowntree Society website.)

With improvements in public educational provision in the twentieth century, the adult schools were wound up and their properties sold.

With residual income from the assets of the York adult schools, the Trust continues to support educational aims in a broad sense.

For historic reasons, the trust members are appointed by Friagate Quaker Meeting.

You’ll find more information about the trust and applying for a grant in the column below.


John Batchelor (Treasurer)

Debbie Wright (Clerk)

John Bourton

John Gray

Celia McKeon


General Aims

The Trust’s primary aim is the promotion of adult education in the York area.


Each year, the Trust offers financial support to local organisations with charitable objectives Typically, the trust provides grants in support of:
the provision of opportunities for self development that were not available in childhood;
education encompassing not only basic skills but also opening horizons, developing confidence and allowing people to examine their beliefs and ideas;
developing ideas of community and concern for others, and making it possible to put these ideas into action.
Area of benefit

Activities within a ten mile radius of York


Grants are not made to individuals, only groups.
The Trust does not make grants for activities for which Government funding is available. Grants are only made for work with people aged over 16.

Grant Amounts

The total annual income of the trust available for grants is typically £2,500-£3,000. Grants to organizations are general in the low hundreds of pounds.


Applications can be made at any time.
Applications received by the end of February will be considered at the spring meeting of the Trust; applications received by the end of August will be considered at the autumn meeting of the Trust. They should be by letter to the Clerk of the trust at the following address:

Debbie Wright (Clerk)

The York Friends Central Adult School Trust,

23 Severus Street



YO24 4NL