Big Giver: Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Robert Dufton, director of the foundation, talks to Jenna Pudelek about how the organisation is marking its 25th birthday

The Roundhouse Studios received £5m to work with young people
The Roundhouse Studios received £5m to work with young people

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation is marking its 25th anniversary by making a series of major gifts to charities that share its mission.

The first to benefit is the Roundhouse Studios, a creative centre beneath the Roundhouse music venue in Camden, London. The studios this month received a £5m endowment for its work with disadvantaged 11-to-25-year-olds in music, media and performing arts.

Robert Dufton, director of the foundation, is finalising the handful of other charities that will receive similar windfalls this year. He says: "They will all be related to our mission to enable individuals and communities to experience a better quality of life."

Such endowments are not typical of the foundation's general awards, which Dufton says total about £20m a year. They usually average about £90,000.

The grant-making organisation was founded by the publishing magnate Paul Hamlyn in 1987 and works in four areas - social justice, the arts, education and non-governmental organisations in India. At the end of 2011/12, it was worth £559.6m.

The foundation runs an open grants scheme that is accessible to organisations with charitable aims, including local authority departments such as museums and libraries.

Examples of recent grants include £150,000 to the Welsh charity Llamau, to work with 14-to-19-year-olds at risk of becoming homeless.

"It had been working with an older age group but identified there was a need to work on a more preventive basis," Dufton says. "I think this characterises a lot of what we do - we enable problems to be addressed before they become entrenched."

The foundation also has a special initiatives programme that works on areas of specific need. An existing example is Right Here, a £6m programme in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation to reduce the risk of young people being damaged by mental health problems.

"We believe passionately that people should have a greater say in their own lives, particularly those who are most marginalised," says Dufton.

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