The Ironmongers' Foundation (formerly Quincentenary Charitable fund) was established in 1963 to mark the 500th anniversary of the granting of the Company's charter by King Edward IV. It depends on donations from the Company and its freemen, industry and the public. The funds are used primarily to foster the Company's connection with the iron and steel trade.
Encouraging young people to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) at school is essential to encouraging greater numbers to pursue careers in science and engineering. The Company's Serious about Science day, held annually from 2009 to 2013, enthused students from across London to choose STEM subjects at GCSE and A Level.
Since 2014, a partnership with the Arkwright Scholarships Trust has been piloting a new approach to targeting talented young scientists in five London schools with a high proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. RISE! (Rise Into Science and Engineering) is engaging students from Year 10 (age 14) upwards through a combination of practical activities, mentoring and university courses.
A five-year partnership with The work-wise Foundation, a small Sheffield-based charity, is providing employability skills training to students in deprived areas. Working with local engineering businesses, the project aims to help school leavers secure and complete apprenticeships.
Grants are made from the Ironmongers' Foundation to the materials departments of Birmingham, Cambridge, Manchester, Oxford and Sheffield Universities and to Imperial College, London. They are used at the discretion of the heads of the department to support and encourage students engaged in research in iron and steel.
In 1977 the Company set up a Jubilee Award for the foundry industry to commemorate the Queen's Silver Jubilee. An annual prize consisting of a medal and attendance at the World Foundry Congress, is given to a person aged under thirty two who has produced the best piece of development work in the ferrous foundry industry. The winner is selected with the help of the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers.
The Company encourages high standards of quality in the use of iron and steel. Grants are made to organisations for the restoration of historic ironwork and the creation of new decorative iron and steel work.
Through this fund, the Company gives grants to organisations connected to its historic traditions and to the City of London, for example the Sea Cadets and Army Cadets, the Lord Mayor's Appeal and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
The Ironmongers' University Scholarship Scheme has enabled 21 talented and high-achieving students, who may not otherwise have been able to afford to attend university, to study subjects such as engineering and materials science.
The scheme was closed following the introduction by the Government in 2012 of enhanced arrangements of grants and loans for students from low income backgrounds. Students can find out more on the Directgov website.