About the trust

Although she became a multi-millionaire from her books, Cookson was frugal with her spending. She did, however, indulge in discreet philanthropy, supporting causes in North East England and medical research in areas that were close to her heart. When public lending rights were introduced for authors, she became immediately eligible for the maximum £5,000 a year but donated it for the benefit of less fortunate writers. She also donated more than £1 million for research into a cure for the illness that afflicted her.

In 1985, she pledged more than £800,000 to the University of Newcastle. In gratitude, the university set up a lectureship in hematology. Some £40,000 was given to provide a laser to help treat bleeding disorders and £50,000 went to create a new post in ear, nose and throat studies, with particular reference to the detection of deafness in children. She had already given £20,000 towards the university’s Hatton Gallery and £32,000 to its library. In recognition of this generosity, a building in the university medical faculty has been named after her. Her foundation continues to make donations to worthy causes in the UK, particularly those offering services to young people and cultural ventures, such as the Tyneside Cinema.

The trust was established in 1977 but after a few years was left dormant with the advent of Gift Aid but started again following the deaths of Dame Catherine and Tom in June 1998.

The aim of The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust is to apply the income and capital to such charities or other charitable causes, cognisant of any wishes expressed by the settlor during her lifetime. The trust receives royalties relating to the work of Dame Catherine Cookson and offers financial support to suitable organisations.

The Catherine Cookson Trust supports a wide range of activities including education and training, environment and conservation, arts and culture as well as general charitable purposes. The Trust’s principal aim is to identify and meet the local needs of the area in which Dame Catherine was brought up and resided. In particular the Trust supports work with young or disadvantaged people.

Grants are generally awarded between £100 and £100,000 but occasionally larger sums where there are exceptional circumstances. There is no standard application form but written applications, enclosing a SAE should be sent to the correspondence address provided.

There is no set format or time limit for applications, which enables many groups to apply for a grant.

On the financial year report of 5th April 2019 the trust received £113,940 from royalty income, and £1,125,390 from investment income. In the same year, the trust spent £2,437,245 in charitable donations.

The trust aims to continue Dame Catherine Cookson’s intentions and is happy to receive applications. There is an initial online form here.