The Kerrison Trust exists to support children and young people in need of care who live in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. While the trustees have considerable discretion in selecting the means by which the Trust’s aims are carried out, the areas in which they are permitted by the Trust documents to operate include the provision of housing, counselling and the advancement of education and training of children and young persons who meet the in need of care criterion.

The Trust has been involved in working with young people since 1856 when Sir Edward Kerrison (MP for Eye and prominent philanthropist) created the Reformatory School at Thorndon, a village near Eye. He believed that a structured training in a safe environment would be of more use than subjecting young offenders to the full rigours of the mid-C19th prison system.

When Sir Edward died, his widow, Lady Caroline Kerrison, placed the whole of the school site at Thorndon into Trust to continue her husband’s work. This is the origin of today’s Trust and the land generates the major part of the Trust’s income. Over the 150+ years since its foundation, there have been many changes in the way in which young people who fall foul of the criminal justice system are dealt with. In 1997 the original Trust Deed was formally up-dated to reflect these changes.

And yet we are not so far removed from those factors which motivated the Kerrisons to want to make things better. In the context of decisions made and the impact of those choices in later life, the pressures on young people are not so different from those experienced by their counterparts in the past.

Today’s Trustees look to make grants in cases where support can encourage a young person to recognize something valuable within themselves and to be better able to choose what they want to do.