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The word training written in chalk on a blackboard
The word training written in chalk on a blackboard

Bairdwatson Charitable Trust

John Neil Bairdwatson was born in 1924 and, until he died in 2006 aged 81, was the Managing Director of Caldervale Engineering Services, a family business established by his late father, and based in Airdrie.

Despite his advancing years, Mr Bairdwatson was at his desk every day and retained a real enthusiasm for work and life. In his 75th year, he was voted Lanarkshire Businessman of the Year.

Mr Bairdwatson

During his lifetime, Mr Bairdwatson had a longstanding commitment to employment and a keen interest in the education and development of young people into employment. With this in mind, he decided to establish a charitable trust to which, on his death, he would leave his shares in the business. Sadly, Mr Bairdwatson died before the trust could be established, but his widow, Mrs Philomena Bairdwatson established the Bairdwatson Charitable Trust in 2011 and the first grants were made shortly thereafter.

In 2022, the Trustees decided it was time to change the way they operated and approached Foundation Scotland for support. Their assessor was leaving and the Trustees were also interested in exploring the wealth of knowledge and expertise Foundation Scotland has in grantmaking. 

In November 2023, the Trustees decided to work with Foundation Scotland to manage applications and grantmaking on their behalf, and the Bairdwatson Charitable Trust Fund via Foundation Scotland was launched.

The fund priorities echo Mr Bairdwatson’s interest in supporting employment and education and provides grants to organisations delivering services relating to training for employment, employment support and vocational skills. It is particularly interested in employment and skills training for young people, and in re-training and support for unemployed people to get them back into work.

In the first six months of the fund opening, 14 grants were made to organisations across Scotland. One of these grants was to the Callander Youth Project (CYP) Trust. CYP is dedicated to improving the lives of young people living in and around Callander.

Although very beautiful, Callander and the surrounding areas are very rural and suffer from poor transport links. This can make socialising difficult for young people and can lead to feelings of isolation. CYP run two social enterprises, and the funding will support the costs of providing four apprenticeships, two “No One Left Behind” placements and vocational training for young people in the community who are unemployed.

To find out more about the Bairdwatson Charitable Trust funding programmes visit the funding page.