About The Gannochy Trust
Arthur Kinmond Bell was a man whose vision for philanthropy was ahead of his time. He was an extremely able businessman with considerable foresight and acumen. His father, Arthur Bell, developed the whisky business during the late 19th century which was eventually known as Arthur Bell and Sons. In establishing the Gannochy Trust in 1937, for charitable and public purposes, AK Bell brought benefits to Perth and Scotland which are maintained to this day. The Trust’s funds initially comprised shares in the Bell’s whisky company and were latterly spread prudently and wisely over a wide spectrum of investments, which have grown significantly over the years. In 1967, with increasing funds available, the geographic footprint of the Trust’s donations was widened, with the approval of the Court of Session, from Perth and its environs to encompass the whole of Scotland.
Many of A K Bell’s early projects were visionary. He financed and supervised the building of the Gannochy Housing Estate between 1923 and 1931, a project described by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain, as ‘unique in character and certainly the best I have seen’. He bought Scone Den, now known as Quarrymill, for the benefit of the people of Perth which was developed into a woodland park; and purchased farms and land to provide for the further development of the housing schemes, recreation grounds, open spaces and gardens.
AK’s abiding passion was the game of cricket and he constructed a fine cricket ground at Doo’cot Park in Perth. The resident club, Perth Doo’cot Cricket Club which has a strong youth membership, is accommodated in an iconic Edwardian ‘Arts and Crafts’ style pavilion.
The unique characteristics and environment of the Gannochy Estate set it apart from other housing developments. The housing is let under private residential tenancies with the majority being set at affordable rents. Over the past 7 years, the Trust has undertaken a programme of refurbishment and renovation of the original 1920’s houses in consultation with Historic Environment Scotland to maximise energy efficiency and comfort for our tenants whilst protecting AK Bell’s original vision.
Recently the Trustees built a further 48 high quality homes at affordable rent. As with the existing estate, this is an exemplar development and has won several national awards. The new houses are both highly energy efficient and well-ventilated, and are set within a ‘Lifetime Neighbourhood’ environment – accessible, inclusive, attractive and safe.
The Trust completed a Masterplan for the estate in 2016 in preparation for the development of the new housing area and we have recently developed an Estate Strategy. These documents set the long-term strategic direction and vision for the estate and will guide it’s development over the next 10 years. Key elements of this will be the continued refurbishment and development of our housing, development of community facilities, and the improvement of green spaces and farmland for recreation and biodiversity.
The Trust also awards grants of around £5m p.a. This is available for capital and revenue funding, primarily in Perth and Kinross but also, in the case of inspiring young people, throughout Scotland. In addition to awarding monetary sums, the Trust aims to work strategically with selected charities to make a greater difference in areas of most concern to the Trust.
Some key facts about the Gannochy Trust and its Estate. The Trust
- is based in Perth, on the east side of the River Tay with an estate of around 700 acres, which includes
- 234 houses with a village green and a duck pond
- A further recently completed 48 exemplar homes
- 3 farms
- 2 Cricket Pitches and a grade B listed ‘arts and crafts style’ Pavilion
- A woodland park and coffee shop
- has a sizeable endowment, with an investment portfolio at June 2021 of around £170m.
- has a small staff team comprising the Chief Executive, 7 management and office staff and 7 gardening and grounds staff.