Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Paul Hamlyn was an entrepreneur, publisher and philanthropist, committed to providing new opportunities and experiences for people regardless of their background. From the outset, his overriding concern was to open up the arts and education to everyone, but particularly to young people. In 1987, he established the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for general charitable purposes.

Since then, we have continuously supported charitable activity in the areas of the arts, education and learning and social justice in the UK, enabling individuals, especially children and young people, to experience a better quality of life. We also support local charities in India that help the poorest communities in that country get access to basic services.

Paul Hamlyn died in August 2001, but the magnificent bequest of most of his estate to the Foundation enables us to build on our past approaches.


To maximise opportunities for individuals and communities to realise their potential and to experience and enjoy a better quality of life, now and in the future. In particular, we are concerned with children and young people and with disadvantaged people.

The objects of the Foundation are to further such charitable purposes and to benefit such charitable institutions as the trustees see fit.


In line with our founder Paul Hamlyn’s values, we believe in giving opportunities by realising people’s potential and in fighting prejudice.

We are interested in finding better ways to do things and help organisations to sustain and develop their work. We pay particular attention to long-term issues. We are not afraid to address issues which others may find challenging or unpopular. Whilst being willing to work in partnership with government, we are also prepared to challenge its (and other people’s) established thinking. We believe independent foundations have an important role to play in society.

Strategic aims

Our strategic aims for the six years 2006–2012 are:

  1. Enabling people to experience and enjoy the arts.
  2. Developing people’s education and learning.
  3. Integrating marginalised young people who are at times of transition.

In addition, we have three related aims:

  1. Advancing through research the understanding of the relationships between the arts, education and learning and social change.
  2. Developing the capacity of organisations and people who facilitate our strategic aims.
  3. Developing the Foundation itself to be an exemplar foundation, existing in perpetuity.


We seek to achieve our first five aims by establishing three partly overlapping programmes for our work in the UK: arts; education and learning; and social justice. Themes and priorities within each programme may change over time. Each of the three programmes has an Open Grants scheme and Special Initiatives, the latter targeted at issues we particularly want to address to achieve long term improvements in society. We have a separate programme for our work in India.

We expect the programmes and the work we support to have an impact at the levels of individuals, organisations, communities and policy.

Grant-making information

Full information on the objectives of each programme, their themes and priorities, eligibility and assessment criteria, application and grant-making processes is available on the Foundation’s website. Eligible applicants are asked to send online an outline application to the Foundation. For further information, please see