About us

The Foundation was set up as an independent grant giving body by Sirius Minerals Plc in 2013. It has subsequently registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity number: 1163127).

The articles of association define the area of benefit as within the North York Moors National Park and the boroughs of Scarborough and Redcar & Cleveland.

The charitable objectives of the Foundation are to:

  • Advance education, including supporting projects and training that benefit people by enhancing their skills;
  • Promote the general health of the community;
  • Advance environmental protection and improvement including the enhancing of the local landscape;
  • Provide and improve facilities in the interests of social welfare and leisure time with the aim to improve residents' well-being;
  • Help gain skills to those in need, because of financial hardship by being out-of-work, particularly the long-term unemployed.


The Foundation is currently utilising £2 million that it was given in 2017 by Sirius Minerals Plc following the commencement of construction of the Woodsmith Mine and a further £1 million provided annually by Anglo American in March 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Anglo American has committed to providing a further £1 million in March 2023. Longer term, the Foundation is due to receive a 0.5 per cent revenue royalty when polyhalite production begins at the Woodsmith Mine.

The Foundation’s first awards were made in December 2017 and it runs regular open grants rounds and commissioned programmes to fund projects that meet our five charitable objectives.


The Woodsmith Foundation is an independent charity and its strategic direction and funding decisions are overseen by a board of seven trustees. The trustees are responsible for the day-to-day running of the Foundation, together with the evaluation and approval of funding for local projects, and are guided by the Foundation’s Articles of Association.

The trustees are appointed by three “members” of the Foundation. The members act as guardians for The Foundation and are similar to shareholders in a company, except they are not permitted to take any funds out of The Foundation. The members are the only people who may appoint trustees or make changes to the Foundation’s Articles of Association. However, any changes must be agreed unanimously and ratified by the Charity Commission. The current members are:

  • York Potash Ltd, a subsidiary company of Anglo American Plc.
  • Mr Jim Dillon, Chief Executive of Scarborough Borough Council
  • Mr Ian Swales, former MP for Redcar

The intention of the board and management of Sirius Minerals Plc was always to create a grant-giving body that would provide a lasting legacy for the community and, importantly, that would not be able to be unravelled by future management teams. The structure of The Foundation, its governance and its subsequent decision to register as a charity has therefore been deliberately designed to achieve this. The structure has allowed the Company to contractually bind itself to share 0.5 per cent of revenue from Woodsmith Mine with The Foundation. The contract, which lasts for 100 years, was signed in 2013.

Our staff

Our trustees

The trustees of The Foundation are appointed by its members. They serve for four-year terms and can serve for a maximum of eight years. A two-year break in service is then required before they can be appointed again.

York Potash Ltd, as a Foundation member, appoints three of The Foundation’s trustees. The remaining four trustees are appointed by the other two “independent members” of the Foundation.

The role of the board of trustees is to:

  • To launch and promote the Foundation.
  • Review and approve grants, monitoring the way in which funds are used by grant recipients.
  • Provide strategic direction, deciding the Foundation's funding strategy and the direction of each funding programme.
  • Be responsible for the governance of the Foundation, ensuring that the way in which we operate and the work we support is in line with our charitable purpose.
  • Act as a champions for the Foundation.

The Woodsmith Foundation is a charity registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales.
Charity number: 1163127