About Us

The Jane Cart Trusts are two historic grant making charities based in Bedfordshire: Mrs Jane Cart Trust and Mrs Jane Cart Almshouse Trust. The main Trust focuses on providing support to Church of England Clergy and their dependents, where that member of the clergy has worked in the Diocese of St. Albans. The Almshouse Trust supports the housing costs of poor single women near Dunstable.

We were established in 1736 when Mrs Jane Cart of Dunstable died, having survived all other members of her family.  The Trusts have operated continuously since that time supporting the Dunstable congregation, local clergy and their dependents.   Click here to read the history of Mrs Jane Cart.

The main trust typically makes small grants (up to £5000) to individuals and we are also able to pay for minor improvements to church property, particularly vicarages. The Almshouse Trust makes grants to other charitable organisations which provide housing for single women, whether on a permanent or temporary basis.

Each Trust is governed by the same group of trustees and we delegate the day to day management of the charity to the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation (BLCF).

BLCF is an independent charity that supports local community groups and charities, with a focus on providing grants and other support based on knowledge and understand of community need and an effective service for donors. The Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation aims to be a catalyst for social change for the communities of Bedfordshire and Luton through raising and distributing funds and ensuring a cohesive, equitable and targeted approach to grant making.

Reference & Administrative Information

Mrs Jane Cart’s Trust registered charity number: 200166.

Mrs Jane Cart’s Almshouse Trust registered charity number: 200166-1

Charity Commission


Rt Rev Richard Atkinson OBE, Bishop of Bedford

Richard was consecrated as Bishop of Bedford in 2012. Previously he has served in Abingdon, Sheffield, Rotherham and Leicester. As Bishop he oversees the Church of England churches, parishes and chaplaincies in Bedfordshire, within the Diocese of St Albans. He is Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, Vice-Chair of the Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust, and Chair of the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee Executive. Richard has extensive community and regeneration experience. This includes being Chair of ‘New Deal for Employment’ in Rotherham (Awarded OBE for ‘Services to Employment in Rotherham’), Vice-Chair of ‘Places for People’ Housing Group and Chair of the Braunstone ‘New Deal for Communities’ Programme in Leicester. Richard is Chair of the Eastern Region Ministry Course that trains women and men for ordained and lay ministry, Chair of the Council for Ministry among Deaf and Disabled People and a Trustee of Near Neighbours, the Just Finance Foundation and the Luton Roma Trust. He is a Governor of the University of Bedfordshire and, until recently, a Co-Chair of the Inter Faith Network UK.

Mrs Cressida Rayner

After training as a Secretary, Cressida had two wonderful jobs. The first was at the Slade School of Fine Art and after marrying Murray, working for the then new Dean of St Albans, Peter Moore. Thus began her life long love of the Abbey. She stopped working for the Dean and started a Catering Company which continues to this day and had four children and now grandchildren. Cressida remains very involved with Abbey life and particularly loves the older members of the congregation and organises Lunch Clubs for them in the Abbot’s Kitchen. She was for 20 years Chair of the Pastoral Team and is now a Lay Pastoral Assistant visiting people in their homes with Communion if they are sick or unable to come to the Abbey. When Neill Newsum, invited her to become a Trustee of the Jane Cart Trust in 2000, it felt like a natural extension of her life and commitment at the Abbey and she loves it and the extra contacts it gives her within the Diocese of St Albans.

Mr Edmund Wood

Edmund’s widowed mother moved to Whipsnade, near Dunstable when he was a teenager. Subsequently he has lived most of his adult life in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire where he and his wife brought up their two daughters in a village near Hitchin.

For most of his life Edmund has been a practising Chartered Accountant specialising in helping families and charities dealing with their tax and financial affairs. He has been involved with the Church of England at Parish, Deanery and Diocesan levels and he is still the Treasurer of the Hitchin Deanery, a member of the St Albans Diocesan Glebe committee and a director of the St Albans Diocesan Property Company.

Mr Jeremy Newsum – Chair

Jeremy  is a retired chartered surveyor.  He was Chief Executive of Grosvenor Group Holdings from 1989 to 2008 and Executive Trustee of the Grosvenor Estate from 1993 to 2016.  Among various non-executive roles he has been a Church Commissioner and a member of the Council of Imperial College.  He currently sits on the board of Wates Group and the Investment Committee of Trinity College, Cambridge.  He is a past President of the British Property Federation, past Chair of the Urban Land Institute and was the founder Chair of Cambridge Ahead.  He currently serves as a trustee of the Evelyn Trust and the Lujenna Educational Trust.   Members of his family have been involved with the Jane Cart Trusts for at least 70 years.

Mrs Cynthia Gresham

Cynthia moved to Bedfordshire after she finished her nurse training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and two years living and working in Durban, South Africa. Settling in Dunstable to raise her four children, she quickly became involved in the community and the Priory Church.Returning to her nursing career in 1984 she opened a Residential Care Home in the town which she was the Proprietor, Matron until her retirement.

Cynthia is now involved in the Priory Church on the PCC and with the social programme.

She is Chair of the trustees for the Frances Ashton Almshouse and the Ashton Foundation.This association with the Ashton Charities compliments her work on the Jane Cart Trust.

Mrs Caroline Bewes

Caroline was born and raised in Bedford. After leaving school, she trained as a PA and subsequently worked for Oxford University Press and then Tropicana UK Ltd. She married Nicholas in 1991 and they have three children and are now living in Cambridge. Caroline has been a non-Executive Director of the Howard Group (a family property business which was started in Bedford by her grandfather) since 1994. She is involved in her local church and is delighted to have joined the Jane Cart Trust combining her Bedfordshire roots with her Christian faith and the opportunity to serve in accordance with the Trust’s objectives.  

Mr Andrew Brown OBE

Andrew is a Chartered Surveyor who worked in private practice and then spent 26 years with Church Commissioners for England, firstly as Chief Surveyor (1994-2003) and then Secretary (CEO), before retiring in January 2020. (He was awarded an OBE for services to the Church).

His current appointments include being Chair of William Leech Investments and Foundation Trusts, (charitable investment companies owned by five Christian charities); a Director of USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme);  a Trustee of Trust for London and is Deputy-Chair of the St Albans Diocesan Board of Finance and he chairs their Glebe Committee. He was Chair of Trustees for the267project children’s charity between 2007 and 2010.

Andrew is an accredited mediator from the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution and a Trustee of Mediation Hertfordshire, a local mediation service offering pro bono mediation to communities in the county.

Mrs Jane Whitbread

Jane joined the board of the Jane Cart Trust in 2022, following in the footsteps of her mother-in-law who was a trustee for 48 years. She is delighted to be involved with the Jane Cart Trust as her father’s family was helped by a similar charity when her grandfather, who was a vicar in Surrey, tragically passed away in his early thirties leaving a widow and three very young children. Jane’s early career was in marketing and new product development with Unilever, United Biscuits and Johnson & Johnson. She subsequently set up an NGO in South Africa in 2001 in the health and welfare field and is founder and chair of trustees of Schoolreaders, a UK child literacy charity.

BLCF Admin Team

Mrs Jaqui Childs


Ms Deborath Hathway

Grants Administrator

Mrs Karen Perkins

CEO at BLCF and Clerk of Jane Cart Trust

Investments: Sarasin & Partners UK

Legal team : Mills & Reeve, Cambridge

Property Advisor : Bidwells, London

Accountants : H W Associates, Hitchin

Correspondence address

Mrs Jane Cart’s Trust

c/o Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation

Enterprise House, Wrest Park, Silsoe, MK45 4HS


01525 306 690