Our history

Buttle UK exists today because of an East End clergyman’s single-minded vision to raise £1m to ‘launch 1,000 children each year out of poverty.'

Even as a young man, Reverend Frank Buttle had a passion for helping some of the most vulnerable children in the UK. This began with his work in helping unwanted infants find homes leading to the establishment of the National Adoption Society in 1916.

Frank resigned himself to a life in poverty so that every penny could go to the various foundations and projects he had set up to help those in need.

In 1937, he had an idea to accumulate £1m to become the capital of a trust to assist deprived children.

When Reverend Frank Buttle died on February 11, 1953 he was just £80,000 short of his £1m target. This fund was used to establish Buttle UK. Since then, the money has been re-invested and multiplied countless times.

As the Charity has grown, so has its capacity to make positive change. Nowadays we are involved in research and project work, but at our core is Frank’s original drive – giving support and relief through grant aid.

'Sadly the issues that inspired Frank to act 80 years ago are still confronted by Buttle UK on a daily basis. I am sure Frank would be proud of Buttle UK's work today, but would be sorry (although not surprised) its services are still so necessary.'

Richard Buttle

Frank's nephew

Our endowment

When Buttle UK was founded in 1953, the value of the endowment was just under £1m. Now it is worth over £50m.

Buttle UK’s endowment was set up to be permanent. This means our Trustees are required to always balance the needs of future beneficiaries of the fund with current ones. As such it cannot be fully spent out, but it can be invested to create an income that the Charity spends annually.

These investments provide us with a little over £1m in income each year. While this is a significant figure, we know this is not enough to meet the current needs of those children and young people for whom we receive applications. So, in order to better meet this need, we draw a small amount of additional capital from the endowment each year to spend, with permission from the Charity Commission, as well as also actively fundraise.

One of the advantages of having an endowment that is set up in this way is that we can use the investment income to cover our administration costs. This means that money received from donors and funders goes straight into grants, and therefore directly to those children and families that need it most.