The Barbour Foundation

Dame Margaret Barbour, DBE., DL, Founder

Dame Margaret Barbour was appointed to the Board of Directors of J Barbour & Sons in 1968 following the sudden death of her husband John Barbour.  In 1973 she became Chairman and has led the company through some of the most exciting times in its history.            

Barbour was established in 1894, by Dame Margaret’s late husband’s great-grandfather John Barbour (1848 – 1918). Her husband John Malcom Barbour, sadly died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage in 1968, aged just 29. Margaret gave up a fledgling teaching career to take over the business in the early 1970s. She oversaw the globalisation of what has become one of the UK’s most distinctive clothing brands. Her sole daughter, Helen, is currently vice-chairman.  Barbour is one of the North East’s great commercial success stories - the brand is available in 40 countries through a mixture of stores and wholesale accounts, most recently entering Russia and China in 2014, and South Africa in 2013.

In 1991, Dame Margaret was honoured with a CBE for services to industry and in 1995, she became President of the Royal Warrant Holders.  In 2001, she became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Dame Margaret continues to lead the company, meeting the needs of its customers through growth and new product innovation whilst adhering to the standards of quality and service established by John Barbour over 125 years ago.

The Barbour Foundation, charity number 328081

The Barbour Charitable Trust (now the Barbour Foundation) was founded in 1988.  Since its inception more than £20m has been awarded to charities and good causes.

The Trustees of the Foundation are Dame Margaret, Helen Barbour and Nichola Bellaby.  The Administrator is Audrey Harvey.   The address for correspondence is:

c/o Edith Howse, Executive Secretary,

Barbour Foundation,


South Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE34 9PD


Telephone 0191 427 4217

Email [email protected]



The Foundation has a diverse collection of objectives, including;

  • The relief of persons in the North East of England who are in conditions of need, by reasons of their social and economic circumstances, hardship or distress.
  • To assist organisations that provide services/projects for those with special needs.
  • To help improve the employment prospects of young people and to alleviate their problems of homelessness in the North East of England.
  • The promotion of research into the cause and treatment of chronic illnesses or diseases and the provision of medical equipment.
  •  The protection and preservation for the benefit of the public in the North East of England such features of cities, towns. Villages and the countryside as are of special environmental, historical and architectural interest.
  • National and International crisis

Main Grants Meetings (from £2000 per application) are held quarterly and Small Grants Meetings (up to £2000 per application) are held every six weeks.


In addition to the Grant Meetings, consideration is given to requests for prizes for charitable events.  If successful a voucher will be issued.  Applications for prizes should be made in writing to the correspondence address.   Applications must include the full address, date and full details of the event.


Geographical area

Parts of North East England ie Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, Durham, South Tyneside.


Application procedure

Failure to provide this requested information at the outset may result in refusal of application.

  • Typewritten letter, posted to the correspondent, including the Charity number and full address, email and telephone number (limited to 2 A4 pages)
  • Details of the request ie project, core funding etc.
  • Breakdown of costs
  • Copy of the latest accounts
  • What other funders have been approached?
  • Donations raised to date


    1. Requests from outside the geographical area
    2. Requests from educational establishments
    3. Capital grants for building projects
    4. Applications for/from individuals

The Foundation always receives more applications than it has funds to support.  Even if a project fits the policy priorities, it may not be possible to make a grant.  Following a donation or refusal allow 12 months to elapse before reapplying.