Frequently Asked Questions

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What is The Retreat?

How is The Retreat different from The Retreat Benevolent Fund?

What is The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)?

I am not a Quaker can I still apply for a grant?

I am a Quaker, but not a Member, can I still apply for a grant?

I am a healthcare professional can I apply for a grant on behalf of one of my patients?

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"[Our daughter] suffered from an eating disorder. With the support of her psychiatrist, funded by The Benevolent Fund, she undertook bariatric surgery three years ago. I’m sure you will understand the immense help this has been to her self-image and the beneficial effects on her physical health. Let us say how indebted we are for the help of The Retreat Benevolent Fund which it is no exaggeration to say has made a life and death difference. Without that help we are sure that [our daughter] would no longer be with us."

What is The Retreat?

The Retreat Hospital was established by William Tuke over 200 years ago; it offered care to Quakers who had mental health problems. People were cared for humanely, with respect and dignity. This way of caring for people was radical at the time and has been influential in developing best practice in mental health care.

The Retreat continued as a mental health hospital, offering care to a wide range of people. In recent years The Retreat offered specialist care to people referred by their local mental health service.

The Retreat no longer offers in-patient care. The New Retreat offers out-patient care (at the Tuke Centre) and is developing new forms of community care.


How is The Retreat different from The Retreat Benevolent Fund?

The Retreat Benevolent Fund is a separate charity originally set up to support Quakers in straightened circumstances to gain inpatient and outpatient help from The Retreat. The Benevolent Fund now works to support mental health care across Quakers.

The Benevolent Fund is a registered charity. It is run by Trustees all of whom are Quakers.  

The Benevolent Fund helps indivduals to access care and support for their mental health. The Fund also gives grants to Quaker led projects promoting mental health.

The finances of the Beneveolent Fund are entirely separate from the finances of The New Retreat.

What is The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)?

Quakerism is almost 400 years old. It's the common name for the Religious Society of Friends. It grew out of Christianity, but we find meaning and value in other faiths and traditions. We recognise that there's something transcendent and precious in every person. Different Quakers use different words to describe this, but we all believe we can be in contact with it and encounter something beyond our individual selves.

Quakers don't use traditional religious structures or paid ministers. We share responsibility for what we do because everyone has a valuable contribution to make.

Quaker meetings for worship can be held anywhere, at any time. Every meeting begins in silence. We use it to open ourselves to the wisdom that comes out of stillness. It enriches us and shapes us, individually and collectively. This is what we mean by 'worship'. You can read more about it here, but the only way to understand it fully is to go to a meeting.

For more information, please visit 

I am not a Quaker can I still apply for a grant?

The Benevolent Fund can give grants to indivduals who are Quakers or who are closely connected  with Quakers. You don't have to be a member - but you must have a connection to Quakers.

 The Benevolent Fund can give grants to projects which are led by Quakers and which will promote activities in line with Quaker values - but the project can benefit people other than Quakers.


How much can the grant be?

Grants made to individuals are generally less than £2,000. 

Grants made to projects are generally less than £5,000. The Fund can offer up to £10.000 - this is likely to be over more than one year.

The Benevolent Fund is a small charity so we can only give small grants. We always ask that you consider what will happen when the grant runs out - whether it's indivdual therapy or a project that has started.


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