The Bishopsdown Trust, Charity number: 326725

The Bishopsdown Trust is an Oxford-based (UK) charity set up primarily to support local performance of music. The charity also supports the use of sport to help those with a disability and music for therapeutic purposes. It provides grants to support individuals or organisations (mainly charities in practice) for activities in Oxford and its broad surrounding regions. Organisations seeking grants may send an application by writing to, or emailing, the administrator. See below for more detailed criteria, and other details.


In 1984 Canon Dr. Michael Bourdeaux was awarded the Templeton Prize for 'Progress in Religion'. He donated the prize money to charity, establishing The Bishopsdown Trust. At that time, The Bishopsdown Trust also gave money to Keston College. This aspect of the Trust's work was subsequently passed to Keston College (Keston Institute is now the operating name of Keston College)

"The Templeton Prize honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Established in 1972 by the late Sir John Templeton, the Prize aims, in his words, to identify "entrepreneurs of the spirit"—outstanding individuals who have devoted their talents to expanding our vision of human purpose and ultimate reality. The Prize celebrates no particular faith tradition or notion of God, but rather the quest for progress in humanity’s efforts to comprehend the many and diverse manifestations of the Divine." 

"Men and women of any creed, profession, or national origin may be nominated for the Templeton Prize. The distinguished roster of previous winners includes representatives of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but also others as well. The Prize has been awarded to scientists, philosophers, theologians, members of the clergy, philanthropists, writers, and reformers, for work that has ranged from the creation of new religious orders and social-spiritual movements to human sciences scholarship, to research about the fundamental questions of existence, purpose and the origins of the universe."

The citation on the Templeton Prize website for Michael Bourdeaux states:
Michael Bourdeaux, founder of Keston College in England, worked to examine and explain the systematic destruction of religion in Iron Curtain nations during the Cold War and to defend the rights of faiths in these countries to worship as they chose. When the oSoviet Union and the Eastern Bloc regimes collapsed, Bourdeaux’s efforts for universal religious freedom were widely embraced.

See Video of Michael Bourdeaux talking in 2012 about religious persecution in the USSR

Part of the prize money went to furthering the work of the Keston College (now operation is the Keston Institute), while most of the remainder went to funding a new Trust, The Bishopsdown Trust, which supports activities in which Michael has great interest - music and sport, with a particular emphasis on those who are disabled or terminally ill, and for activities in or around Oxford, UK, and its surrounding region or places with a 'familial' connection to the Bourdeaux family.

The Bishopsdown Trust fund was invested and the income used to provide donations to individuals or organisations, particularly charities, which apply for funding in connection with relevant activities. For details see the separate sections, below. A board of Trustees meets in late May/early June and again in November each year to consider applications and make awards. Administrative work is carried out by an unpaid 'administrator/secretary/treasurer'.

Aims of awards by The Bishopsdown Trust and provisos applied

(This is the administrator's interpretation of the objectives of the trust and the provisos – it is up to the trustees to make their own


Individuals or organisations, normally charities, make applications for awards in connection the following aims of the Bishopsdown Trust: 

  1. The advancement of aesthetic education with respect to music including practice and promotion of musical works, the advancement of church music and provision of scholarships and grants towards training and professional development of musicians
  2. The provision of sporting facilities, equipment, training or engagement for those who are disabled or seriously ill
  3. The provision of musical facilities, equipment, training or engagement for those who are disabled or seriously ill.

The following provisos are normally applied by the trustees:

i) Grants are not made in consecutive years or at intervals of less than 24 months.
ii) The modest sums awarded by the trustees (typically ranging from £300 to £1500, averaging £700) should make a discernible difference to the particular or general purpose of the charitable body or individual
iii) Purposes are ‘local to Oxford and its surrounding areas, or to neighborhoods where the Settlor (Michael Bourdeaux) has enjoyed particular or familial association’.
iv) The spending on fund-raising or the salary of fund-raisers is small either absolutely or in relation to the charitable expenditure of the applicant charity body or individual.
v) The grant is for immediate and particular purposes and not for the maintenance of the general resource level of the applicant charity body or individual.

Applications for a grant

Applications need not be long. They can be in the form of a letter or email containing details of what a grant would be used to support. 
1) The purpose of the proposed grant. The Trustees prefer grants to be for a specific purpose or project rather than to support general running costs; in general the trustees do not like to contribute towards making good an existing deficit. 

2) Full contact details and, where applicable, Charity Commission number/company number (as appropriate) should be provided. Please remember to include the specific name any cheque should be made payable to, and the postal address for despatch.

3) in addition to the application itself it is worth providing some background about the nature of the charity, its scope and very brief history. This could well be in the form of a pre-prepared document.

4) Applications may be in form of an email (to the administrator) with pdf (Portable Document Format) files attached. In fact this is preferable to postal applications, as they aid distribution to the Trustees in advance of Trustee meetings.

5) Applications from charities should include recently approved accounts (annual income and expenditure and balance sheet). If these are on the Charity Commission website there's no need to send a copy, but please confirm in your application that they are available for viewing online.

6) Please also tell us how you heard about The Bishopsdown Trust. We imagine that it is primarily through personal contact, and now, with this website, it is possible that an internet search may have led you here and to make an application. 

Processing of applications

The administrator tries to answer queries whenever emailed or posted (email is preferred); however it may not always be possible to reply immediately. It is not our normal practice to confirm receipt of applications, or to notify of rejection; successful applicants are notified by email as soon as possible after the meeting of Trustees, partly to check the payee name to go on the cheque and the address to sent it to.

The administrator normally prepares a package of documents, with a spreadsheet summarising basic information, for distribution to the Trustees in 'hard-copy' about three weeks before the each meeting of Trustees. 

Trustees meetings to consider applications are held in late May/early June and in mid-November each year.

Contact details

Please refer to the Charity Commission website for contact details or contact nspencerchapman ['at' sign] gmail. com.