300-year-old Harpenden youth charity expands into four new villages

The headstone of James Marshall, who started the Harpenden-based James Marshall Foundation. Picture:

The headstone of James Marshall, who started the Harpenden-based James Marshall Foundation. - Credit: Chris Canfield

A Harpenden charity founded 300 years ago to support young people to gain employment has expanded its catchment area.

Local land owner James Marshall left a legacy to establish the James Marshall Foundation (JMF) in 1722, and its work continues today by awarding grants to young people under 25 years in financial need to help them through education and find career development opportunities.

The charity receives annual grant funding of £250,000, which is generated from a combination of its existing asset base and awards around 500 grants.

At the end of last year JMF received approval from the Charity Commission in late 2021 to expand its catchment area to add a further four villages to the existing locations of Harpenden and Wheathampstead: Kimpton, Redbourn, Flamstead and Markyate.

Foundation manager Pauline Whiting said: "We feel that the expansion is such a positive way to start the year of the 300th anniversary of the Foundation: to increase the number of young people whom JMF can awards grants to, whilst still being able to continue to generously support those in our existing locations. This is probably the most significant change to JMF over the last 300 years."

The journey through education and into work can be an expensive time. Key areas where JMF may be able to help are:

  • Equipment and travel for work/apprenticeships;
  • Further education courses;
  • Apprenticeships/college/university costs;
  • Extra-curricular activities: sport, music, creative arts, Scouts/Guides and DofE;
  • Plus laptops and printers; residential school trips and school uniform.

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Pauline added: "We are always delighted to hear back from our beneficiaries and recently received the following feedback: 'Thank you, so much. If only there were enough words to describe much all your support has helped our family. Thank you does not seem quite enough'."

Further details and an online application form can be found on JMF’s website jamesmarshallfoundation.co.uk