The Watson Family Charitable Trust is celebrating five years of supporting local young people and communities in the North East and beyond.
The Trust is a family affair with Chairman Ian Watson, his wife Claire and their three sons and family friend and lawyer Hugh Welch, senior partner at Muckle LLP making up the trustee body.
Ian, a former corporate banker, is the owner and founder of the Hadrian Healthcare group of companies. Hadrian Healthcare Ltd is considered to be one of the country’s leading providers of elderly care, being a niche provider of quality care with exceptionally high-quality care homes throughout the North of England.
Ian has sold several generations of the Hadrian Group of Homes over the past 15 years, with the most recent sale in 2019 at a value in excess of £100 million – bringing the total value of Hadrian Homes sold to £230 million.
Hadrian continues to operate high-quality homes in Whickham and Gosforth and is currently building a new innovative £15 million care development on the banks of the Skipton canal. Plans are also in place to build a new facility in Roundhay Leeds, commencing later this year.
Ian was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum in 2014 and again in 2015 by Ernst and Young.
Since its official registration in January 2015 the charity has made grants totalling almost £500,000 for diverse projects primarily in the region, but also in Africa.
- Lighting up Jesmond – A project for the benefit of the Jesmond community, which installed exterior lighting to the iconic St George’s Church in the centre of Jesmond.
- Whickham School – which Ian attended – to fully equip the new business faculty with the most modern, up to date and high-tech equipment.
- Success4All – which helps young people in disadvantaged areas with schoolwork by providing mentors and other support.
- The Percy Hedley Foundation – to fund a sensory room, install a roundabout and play area and facilitate a holiday for children from the school.
- Funding an unemployed young man to attend college to gain literacy, numeracy and IT skills and subsidising his wages for the next four years whilst he undertook an apprenticeship.
- The rebuilding of Providence Home in Uganda, a home and school for disabled and orphaned children which significantly changes the lives of very deprived children in the country.
The Trust is currently actively looking at funding new initiatives to help improve the learning opportunities of north east children during the challenging pandemic, which is having a significant impact on schools.
Ian Watson said: “I have been fortunate in many aspects of my life and enjoyed considerable business success. It has always been my belief that if you have the privilege of opportunity and wealth then you have greater responsibility to help others.
“This has been the driving force behind my philanthropy, which has developed over many years and in 2015 became more structured with the Watson Family Charitable Trust.
“The key themes that we have pursued include helping young people to overcome social disadvantage and disability, both at home and abroad, and support for our local community.
“The coronavirus pandemic has changed life for many, and it is the most vulnerable in society who are suffering the most and we hope that in the future our grants can play a part in addressing that balance.
“We are continuing to look for new opportunities and very recently have started working with the Recruitment Junction, a new charity focused primarily on getting ex-offenders into employment to break the cycle of re-offending.
“We anticipate the next five years will see further work in Africa, and contributions to local projects working with young people in the North East of England. We are all looking forward to engaging with, and supporting, the inspiring good causes across our region.”