Information for Applicants

Over the last few years Soothern & Craner has met the needs of our applicants in varied ways:

  • school uniforms
  • money for regulated summer holiday activities
  • bus passes to school
  • support for travel for a rural course
  • support for teacher training fees
  • fees for a certificated courses in music and snowboarding
  • a bursary for accommodation for a residential theatre course.

Notes for applications:

The Foundation is only able to support girls and women of modest means in Coventry, or connected to Coventry Quaker Meeting. The Foundation’s trustees are drawn from the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and Coventry Councillors. The principal meeting of the trustees is held in July of each year with additional meetings as required. The foundation is able to distribute between £9,000 and £12,000 each year.

Trustees prefer to encourage those taking lower levels of education and only rarely assist beyond first degree level. The study may be away from Coventry, but the connection with the city is a key requirement. The assistance for primary and secondary school pupils may be for uniform, educational visits, or regular expenditure on smaller items such as a bus pass if this is not provided.

How to apply and what references are needed are on the linked documents below. All applicants are informed of the outcome. Successful applicants may be required to supply a letter of confirmation of starting their course before payments are made, and receipts are requested for proof of expenditure.

Applications may also be made on behalf of groups for example by a teacher or group leader for suitable educational activities.

To download the 2023-24 letter to schools and FE colleges click here.

To download our latest poster for noticeboards or circulation click here.

Previous Applicants' Stories

Julie's Story

Gemma's Story

An invitation from the Trustees.

We love to hear of your successes and how a grant has helped you. Please write and tell us.

Also if you are able to show your gratitude by making a donation later on in your life, so that we may help more people who are in the position that you were in a while ago, that is especially appreciated. You might also like to include the foundation in your will. It was originally founded from Bridget Soothern’s estate and later augmented from the Craner estate. As a registered charity we are able to benefit from Gift Aid so that can make your contribution even bigger! 

Thank you in anticipation. The Trustees 

fountain pen writing on lined paper

Julie's Story

Many years ago, back in the mid-1990s, I was given a grant from Soothern & Craner to help me to do an Access course.

I was a single female living in Hillfields in one of the tower blocks and had been mostly unemployed since leaving school. I had very little education due to my mother thinking it better for me to help with the shopping, etc, and I rarely went to school.

At the time I applied for the grant I was 29 years old. I always wondered why Coventry University even offered me a place on one of their courses but they did. It was a Foundation in Applied Science and Engineering. I used the money I received from you to buy books I would otherwise not have afforded, and I honestly believe it helped me to pass the course.

I then went on to do a BSc in Applied Chemistry. I did well at that and after my second-year exams I was offered to move onto the Masters in Applied Chemistry which I decided to do, despite the additional workload. After I finished my degree (with a 2:1) I went to work for Unilever and later moved back to Coventry. In 2013 I decided to do a PhD in engineering which I did at the University of Warwick, and I passed January 2018 with minor corrections, and then returned to working life.

I had previously worked in the chemical industry before I was head hunted and moved into a sales role, but I had also worked for a short while in Environmental Health, and after the PhD that is what I decided to return to. I now work for a local council because I want to feel I’m working in a way that gives something back to the world. Those other jobs felt pointless to be honest, but what I’m doing now feels worthwhile.

The grant gave me not just the gateway to education, but also the chance of a decent life and a job. That was really all I ever wanted: normality. I think without your help I would have struggled because my journey was not easy. You gave me a way out of poverty and way to earn a living. I just want the Trustees to know just how much a small grant can totally change the course of someone’s life.

I hope the story inspires a few people to believe in themselves. I can honestly say every year of study I began, and expected it to be my last and was surprised to pass. A close friend has since followed a similar course. She is also from a similar background. The hardest part is to believe it is possible. But then you keep passing. If you can inspire people to just try, I think most will make it. The problem is a lifetime of being told you are stupid and you start to believe it.

I really wonder whether I would have done any of this without your help. Thank you.

Photo by Luwadlin Bosman on Unsplash

Gemma's Story

I was generously awarded grants from the Soothern and Craner Foundation to support my studies and allow me to pursue a career in classical music.

I was raised in Coventry and attended Blue Coat School where I joined the school choir. I fell in love with singing and music – I joined the Coventry Philharmonic Choir, the Coventry Youth Orchestra, anything that allowed me to continue exploring music and performing.

Having studied music at university, I then worked in London for some years as a freelance ensemble singer and arts administrator.

In 2019 I made the decision to pursue a career in solo singing – this would require further education. The Soothern and Craner Foundation generously agreed to help support my Masters in Vocal Studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Without their support, there’s no way I would have been able to complete this degree which was a vital next step in my progress.

After graduating with a distinction in my masters from Trinity Laban I moved to Switzerland to join the Swiss Opera Studio programme, based in Bern. Yet again, the Soothern and Craner Foundation kindly supported me and this move.

Over the last four years I have developed from an ensemble singer into an established operatic singer and soloist. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and I know that would not have been possible without the invaluable support of the Soothern and Craner Foundation.

I hope my story encourages people to consider all the possibilities out there. There are all kinds of careers we can pursue, and all kinds of ways we can make our dreams into a reality. The Soother and Craner Foundation allowed me to pursue my passion and forge a successful career in music. For that I will be forever grateful.

I often return to Coventry to deliver recitals and short lunchtime concerts. It would be an honour to perform for the Soothern and Craner Foundation one day.