Health and medical charities attracted nearly a third of all grant expenditure in 2014, according to new research by the data provider Charity Financials.
The Charity Grant-Making Spotlight report shows that health and medical charities received £734m in grant funding last year, or 30 per cent of all donations and grants distributed by the 973 grant-making organisations which rank among the top 5,000 largest charities by income in the UK.
It shows that charities representing general charitable causes were the second most popular focus area among grant-makers, with £599m of income in 2014 - up from £436m in 2009. Social services and relief organisations came third, attracting £264m in grant funding from trusts in 2014, or 10.7 per cent of the total, compared to just £198m in 2009.
The report shows that total expenditure among the trusts in the sample increased year-on-year with the exception of a slight decrease in 2013, from £2.03bn in 2009 to £2.71bn in 2014 - an increase of 33.5 per cent over the period.
The figures were based on accounts filed with the Charity Commission by organisations in the top 5,000 by income which listed grant making as one of their activities.
The Wellcome Trust, which is the UK’s largest grant-making charity with an annual expenditure of £870m, was the biggest grant-maker to health and medical charities, giving more than all the other grant-makers put together.
The Children's Investment Fund Foundation was the biggest provider of grants to general charitable causes, while BBC Children in Need was the biggest grant-maker to social services and relief organisations.
The biggest grant-makers to charities in the civil rights, conservation and education sub-sectors were the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and the Leverhulme Trust respectively.
The Tudor Trust, the Halo Trust and the Keren Association were the biggest grant-makers to charities in the areas of housing and community affairs, international activities, and religion.
A report published yesterday by the Association of Charitable Foundations, Giving Trends: Top 300 Foundation Grant-Makers 2015, also published findings into foundations’ grant-making expenditure. It said that grant-making rose by 6.4 per cent over the past year to £2.5bn.