Elmley Foundation

Welcome to The Elmley Foundation

The Elmley Foundation is an independent grantmaking charity which supports the arts in the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The Foundation was endowed by the late Countess Beauchamp of Madresfield Court near Malvern. She was the Danish-born widow of the eighth and last Earl Beauchamp who was known as Viscount Elmley until he succeeded his father to the House of Lords in 1938.

The purpose of The Elmley Foundation is to continue the tradition of encouragement of all forms of the arts, crafts and design which has been associated with Madresfield Court over many generations. In doing so, the Foundation perpetuates Madresfield’s considerable influence on the cultural life of Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The Foundation believes strongly in initiating ideas to fill gaps and generally develop the arts scene in the two counties.  To this end it founded Herefordshire and Worcestershire Arts Development Ltd and works closely with the trustees of this company who add to the Elmley Foundation's investment by attracting money from other sources to promote schemes.  The Foundation's independence is much valued by artists, arts organisations and the various statutory bodies involved and is consequently influential in cultural planning for the two counties.

Around £300,000 is spent each year in grants and on schemes initiated by the Trustees.

The Foundation runs two schemes, the Main programme and the Elmley Small Grants scheme.


The Foundation is conscious that there are fewer and fewer natural opportunities for people running arts and culture organisations who work with professional artists to meet and learn from each other.

To meet this need, The Foundation decided to inaugurate an annual conference.  After the considerable success of the first event in 2013, a follow-up meeting for arts and cultural organisations and agencies was held in Malvern in November 2014, and again in 2015.  Some 90 Chairs and CEO/Secretaries registered representing over 50 different bodies.

The principle feedback has been the value to them of providing a forum in which people can meet and exchange ideas. One outcome of the 2013 event was a decision by Herefordshire delegates who previously had not met each other to get together to launch a bid to be City of Culture 2021.

In 2016 we arranged a series of training seminars on the use of Social Media which were extremely well received.  A further conference will be held in November 2017.


The Forum provides an opportunity leaders of all kinds who rarely get the chance to reflect together at a serious intellectual, philosophical level on the many underlying forces which affect the world and our society.  Feelings of concern and frustration among senior people in all walks of life are widespread, and the imperative to take action, or be seen to be doing so, can easily be mixed with anxiety about consequences and the wider context.  Hardly ever do we have space to reflect on the underlying forces, even though to do so in an intellectual environment can be stimulating and help to build confidence .

The Elmley Foundation, the leading cultural grantmaking body in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, has therefore created an opportunity for leaders of the public, professional, private and voluntary sectors in the two counties to discuss Big Questions in a local context.

Senior figures from local government, judiciary, the arts, police, church, health and emergency services, academics, business and the voluntary sector come together in a unique environment.  Particular appreciation has been voiced for the in-the-round format and the emphasis on interactive debate.

Forum events so far have featured discussions on Human Hopes and Planet Frailties with the philosopher John Gray, Fairness and Happiness with Geoff Mulgan (founder of Demos), Freedom and Restraint with Shami Chakrabarti, and Certainty and Doubt with Richard Holloway.

The Forum is not operating currently, but there are plans for more events soon.

To be put on the mailing list for invitations, please email forum@elmley.org.uk