About The Foundation

The Charity was created by Michael Connolly (pictured right) who donated the shares of his company, Connolly Holdings in memory of his late wife Kathleen.

They wanted to give something back to the county where they had achieved their success, Bedfordshire, and wanted to give young people the opportunity to improve their condition by using their skills, much as Michael had done as a young man.

They also wanted older people to be able to live comfortably and contribute to the community.

We seek to make grants to improve people’s lives in Bedfordshire. We usually work through other institutions rather than giving grants to individuals.

We support young people by:

• Giving grants which enable young people to attend University and gain good quality degree;
• Giving grants to young people to enable them to undergo further education, includingapprenticeships;
• Giving grants to schools to improve facilities for learning, particularly in STEM subjects;
• Making grants to charities and organisations which give young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds a chance to make a forward step in life, such as Youthscape in Luton.

We support frail and elderly people by:

• Supporting hospice and end of life care
• Supporting research into diseases that principally affect older people.

So far we have:

• Supported students through University studies, working with seven Bedfordshire secondary schools;
• Supported apprentices learning trades through Bedford College;
• Provided grants to schools to improve learning facilities;
• Worked with the charity Youthscape to provide learning spaces for young people;
• Provided funding to update community spaces;
• Funded research into Alzheimers Disease which affects many frail elderly people;
• Provided funding for hospices run by Keech Cottage, Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire charities.

We plan to:

• Offer student bursaries to all schools with sixth form establishments within Bedfordshire;
• Extend our apprenticeship and similar schemes beyond traditional trades and into nursing, care, sports coaching and administration;
• Support Bedfordshire Hospices to improve their facilities to improve access and services;
• Extend our support to young people taking degrees or postgraduate diplomas in education to encourage them to come to Bedfordshire to teach;
• Invest in residential/nursing care in Bedfordshire.

How it all began

Michael and Kathleen came to the UK from Ireland in the 1950’s. Kathleen supported Michael in his business life, whilst fulfilling her duties as an elected representative on Luton Borough Council.

Michael went on to form a house building company, Connolly Homes, which grew, with his hard work and guidance plus Kathleen’s devoted support, into a substantial business in the ensuing 50 years.

Michael and Kathleen, through their experiences as young people in Ireland and later in their adult lives in England, were mindful of the difficulties faced by so many elderly people, particularly those who had come from the same economic background as themselves.

They often wished that they could give meaningful assistance to those in need; both in helping young people acquire new skills and qualifications and in facilitating care for the elderly.