The Craft Fund was set up in 1985. Its principal object is to promote any charitable purpose which will:
encourage the exercise and maintain the standards of the craft of stonemasonry
preserve and improve the craft of stonemasonry or
foster promote and increase the interest of the public in the craft of stonemasonry
The charity provides financial assistance for apprentices, students and trainees. See Support for Apprentices and Trainees. It also administers the separate Sydney Mason Fund, which awards an annual bursary at the City and Guilds of London Art School to a student nominated by the School.
The charity is guided by the conclusions of a searching three-year review into the Company’s training strategy (approved in January 2013), which was set up at the Craft Fund’s request in order to make sure that the Company’s charitable funds were being used in the most effective manner. The review broadly endorsed the current Masons’ Company Training Scheme with certain colleges and proposed in addition the establishment of a new Masons’ Company Apprentice Support Scheme. This will be launched in the near future. It will begin with an apprentice in an approved cathedral masons’ yard or other appropriate public institution such as the National Trust, but as experience is gathered and funds allow it is hoped to spread the scheme more widely.
The Craft Fund is willing to consider any applicant wishing to enrol in an approved training course in the craft of stonemasonry, either full time or part time if supported by an employer. Exceptionally, it may be willing to consider applications from recommended persons who are training independently. The Training Co-ordinator and the Craft and Training Committee will wish to be satisfied that applicants are committed to staying in the craft and industry after their courses.
In addition to its main task of supporting individual students and apprentices, the Craft Fund makes an annual grant to the Building Crafts College to help it give students workplace experience and has supported the periodic Stone Bench competitions in the City of London. In 2011, in collaboration with Stone Federation Great Britain and the Building Crafts College, the Craft Fund sponsored the extremely popular and successful stonemasonry Have-A-Go Area at the WorldSkills International Competition at ExCel Docklands.