About The Foundation

About The Foundation

The Connolly Foundation UK is a major charity in Bedfordshire created to meet the changing needs of young people and older people in the county.

Since beginning in 2007 The Connolly Foundation has awarded more than £12 million in grants and we are proud that these donations have had such a positive impact to many lives in Bedfordshire through education, training, health and social care and mental health and well-being.

In March 2020 we were all faced with a devastating challenge in the form of Covid-19. Life changed for people of all ages in ways that few of us could have imagined. The Connolly Foundation stepped in to support projects and organisations that were working to provide help to individuals and communities affected by the virus.

Click here to download our impact statement

We support young people by:

Giving grants which enable young people to attend University and gain a good quality degree.

Giving grants to young people to enable them to undergo further education, including apprenticeships.

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.


We support older people by:

Supporting hospice and end of life care.

Supporting research into diseases that principally affect older people.

Funding research into Alzheimer’s Disease which affects many older people 

Supporting community facilities where people can meet and socialise.

So far we have:

Supported students through University studies, working with a growing number of 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 older people.

Provided funding for hospices run by Keech, Sue Ryder 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 Connolly 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 older 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 older people.