Charity spotlight: Barnwood Trust

Discover more about the incredible work of Barnwood Trust, a charitable foundation dedicated to building belonging across Gloucestershire – creating opportunities for disabled people and those with mental problems to make the most of their lives.

From its impressive history through to the work of the Trust across Gloucestershire today, find out more about how Barnwood wants to bring the county together, exploding myths about disability and mental health and creating the best possible environment by building belonging.

How it all begin

Barnwood Trust was founded 157 years ago when Barnwood House was opened in Gloucestershire as a public hospital to treat people with mental health problems.

From the outset, Barnwood House had a philanthropic dimension and saw wealthier patients subsidise those who were less able to afford treatment at the hospital, which prided itself on offering exceptional care and facilities.

Following WWII, Barnwood became a centre for research into the biochemistry of the brain, but rising costs and a downturn in patient numbers due to people taking advantage of free care by the State, led to the closure of the main hospital in 1967 when the majority of the estate was sold.

In 1968 a smaller nursing home was opened at the Manor House and the first of Barnwod Trust’s sheltered housing bungalows opened in 1981. From the early 1980s onwards, the Trust also embarked on a comprehensive grant giving programme.

The charity today

Barnwood Trust is a charitable foundation which is funded by income from its portfolio of investments. It is not a fundraising charity.

Barnwood builds belonging in Gloucestershire. It is dedicated to creating the best possible environment in the county for disabled people and people with mental health problems to make the most of their lives.

The Trust continues to promote the values of dignity of the individual, mutual respect and quality of life for all, which were pioneered by its founders.

The Trust has a board of trustees and governors, along with a team of dedicated staff, who work together to realise the Trust’s aims.

Key areas of work

Barnwood Trust works to create the best possible environment in Gloucestershire for disabled people and people with mental health problems, in the following ways:

Discovering Opportunities

The Discovering Opportunities programme enables disabled people and people with mental health problems to follow their passions and interests. Barnwood wants to make sure that everybody has access to a range of positive experiences and no one living in Gloucestershire feels excluded.

Shaping Homes

The Trust is works to ensure that more people with disabilities or mental health problems can live in homes and communities that enhance their wellbeing. They do this by influencing the design and delivery of housing and encouraging others to build inclusive communities, not just housing.

Growing Communities

The community building programme, known as You’re Welcome, focuses on making sure that everyone in Gloucestershire is included in communities, spaces and places.

The Trust doesn’t run community events, services or facilities. Rather, they start conversations, share stories and run workshops, enabling residents to connect with other local people who share their passions and interests. For more information and to find out how to join in, visit

Sharing Insights

Sharing insights is about sharing information, ideas and their learning to influence the experience of disabled people and people with mental health problems in Gloucestershire.

In the future, Barnwood Trust will communicate the findings from their own research, as well as speaking out about issues that matter to the people of Gloucestershire.


A large portion of the Trust’s work involves building relationships and sharing experience and ideas. But sometimes money is needed too. So, there are a range of grants that provide support to the activities of their different programmes. Some grants are for individuals, some for organisations and some for groups of people living near each other:

Wellbeing Grants help people in Gloucestershire who have mental health problems or a disability to live more comfortably.

Opportunities Awards open the way for disabled people and people with mental health problems to try something new or further a current hobby or skill.

Small Sparks Grants are for friends and neighbours who want to arrange an event to bring people together or establish a group activity.

Community Spaces Fund supports communities to develop welcoming and inclusive community spaces where people can meet or do things together.

There are also a range of small Grants to Organisations for Gloucestershire organisations that work with disabled people and people with mental health problems.

For more information about any aspect of Barnwood Trust, call (01452) 614429, email, or visit directly.

© SoGlos
Tuesday 12 September 2017

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