The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) and The Matthew Hodder Charitable Trust (MHCT) are to merge to form one organisation carrying the BTBS name.
The merger will mean BTBS can now expand its education grants, alongside continuing its welfare support work.
BTBS, under chief executive David Hicks, will take over the administration and back-office function of MHCT, which has no staff.
MHCT has gifted its assets to BTBS, which is creating the Matthew Hodder Fund, from which four educational grant schemes will be funded.
Grants of up to £1,000 will be made to support young people hoping to enter the book trade for help with costs for job interviews, course fees, books and equipment. Grants of up to £2,000 will support interns in the book trade who would otherwise struggle financially, and can be used to help with travel, accommodation, and living costs.
Post-graduate publishing students who struggle financially while studying will be able to apply for grants, and there will also be money available for educational projects and initiatives by individuals or organisations “to facilitate or provide education and training to promote the study, knowledge and appreciation of literature, publishing and the book trade and for the benefit of those who work in the this trade”. These final grants are normally between £1,000 and £2,000, but can be up to a maximum of £5,000.
Hicks told The Bookseller that the two charities had worked together for a number of years, with MHCT providing money for grants to BTBS on a one-off basis.
“MHCT came to the realisation that they were receiving fewer applications from the book trade, and their objectives were very wide,” said Hicks.
Timothy Lambert, executive chairman of BTBS, and Hicks joined MHCT’s board, but soon decided the charities would be better off operating as one.
Lambert said: “This merger represents a terrific opportunity to build on the important work BTBS has been doing for over 175 years at a time when the demands on the services of the charity are increasing. An expanded education grants programme will give us the opportunity to help young people in particular, many of whom struggle financially in the early days of their book industry careers.”
Tom Biggs-Davison, chairman of The Matthew Hodder Charitable Trust, said: “We have worked closely with BTBS for the past two years relying on them for guidance and support for both back office work and policy and procedural matters, and it became clear that savings could be made by merging, with little point running the two organisations in parallel. MHCT has long supported BTBS with regular grants and is confident that the Matthew Hodder Fund will continue to be active in support of past and present Hodder staff and indeed all members of the book trade.”
BTBS was established in 1837 to help those in need within the book trade through grants, information, subsidised housing, funding for training courses, and more. MHCT was established to support individuals with Hodder/Headline connections who find themselves in difficult personal circumstances.