The Connolly Foundation is a Bedford based charity which supports projects for the elderly and infirm plus projects for young people. It was set up by Michael Connolly who came to the UK from Ireland in the 1950’s to seek work; in 1959 Michael met Kathleen Toland and two years later they were married.
Michael went on to form a house building company, Connolly Homes, which grew, with his hard work and guidance plus Kathleen’s devoted support, into a substantial business in the ensuing 50 years.
Below: Michael Connolly
Michael and Kathleen, through their experiences as young people in Ireland and later in their adult lives in England, were mindful of the difficulties faced by so many elderly people, particularly those who had come from the same economic background as themselves.
They often wished that they could give meaningful assistance to those in need; both in helping young people acquire new skills and qualifications and in facilitating care for the elderly.
Below: The In Patient Unit at The Pasque Hospice (Keech Hospice) which received supportive funding from The Foundation
In 1999 Kathleen died unexpectedly. Michael, in Kathleen’s memory, focused his energies and a substantial amount of revenue into creating the Kathleen and Michael Connolly Foundation, spurred on by the dreams and wishes that Kathleen and he had shared.
In keeping with their own lives together The Kathleen and Michael Connolly Foundation has two main objectives, to assist the elderly and the provision of funding for young people in education in Bedfordshire.
Below: equipment in the St Thomas More Activity Centre provided by The Foundation
Currently The Foundation supports the following schools which sees annual bursaries to 6th Form students plus also a number of capital projects. Support is provided through direct connection with the schools only:
Biddenham International School
Redborne Upper School
Cardinal Newman Upper School
Stratton Upper School
St Thomas More Upper School
Sharnbrook Upper School
The Foundation’s main website is here: http://www.connollyfoundation.org.uk/about.php
The Foundation looks to promote its work within Bedfordshire and four of their current partner schools have athletes within the Junior team; the personal development side of being part of the Junior squad fits well with the objectives of the charity in seeing young people unlock more of their potential and show the same drive, determination and commitment that Michael and Kathleen showed.