Inc Bookbinders Charitable Society and Matthew Hodder Charitable Trust


About Us

Established in 1837, we provide care and support to former, current and future book trade people in need with grants and housing.

We work on the principle that age, health or financial means shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving an enjoyable quality of life and welcome former book trade people to live at The Retreat and Bookbinders Cottages.

We provide a wide range of support through grants for re-training, living with a disability, medical need and other circumstances brought about by redundancy, sickness or other life events. Recent mergers with Matthew Hodder Charitable Trust and Bookbinders Charitable Society have enabled us to expand both the services we can offer, and the range of trades and professions from which people can apply for our support. We rely on the generosity of the book trade, the general public and caring individuals to provide vital funding. If you think we can help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

What we do

We aim to ensure book trade people know how, where and when to approach BTBS for confidential support, advice, and to help relieve need and distress caused by financial difficulties, emergencies and unexpected events, illness (including long-term or terminal), disability and the impact of redundancy and unemployment.

How we help

How we help

As well as the security of housing at The Retreat and Bookbinders Cottages, we offer a wide range of grants covering everything from housing costs, rental arrears, unexpected emergencies and costs related to job interviews.

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Critical Illness

We have experience of and are here to support individuals and families through critical illnesses. We also provide support for people looking after partners with diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Skills for Life

Whether it’s support with re-training after redundancy, or assistance with an e-learning course, we’re here to help people access and regain employment. We provide funding support for careers guidance that helps people make the right learning, career and life choices.

Social Welfare

We are here to help and the requests we get are wide ranging; from emergency payments for household repairs through to subsidies for those on low incomes. We recently purchased an electric scooter for a former publisher, housebound through critical illness, and provided a security deposit for a bookshop worker needing to move flats. We want to help, so just ask.


The Retreat in Kings Langley, and Bookbinders Cottages at Whetstone, London N20 are exceptional residential facilities for people who have worked, or are currently still working, in the book trade. Residents live comfortably within a community of like-minded people who share a common work experiences.

Application Forms

Please feel free to complete and return one of our grant forms or call us to have a chat about the possible options



Support for entry to the book trade

Support for entry to the book trade

We recognise the need to bring talented younger people into the industry who might otherwise be excluded, to ensure the industry’s future development and success.

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We recognise the need to bring talented younger people into the industry who might otherwise (for financial or other reasons) be excluded, to ensure the industry’s future development and success, in the light of continuous technological change. We have created as a microsite, specifically aimed at new entrants to the trade, to provide all the information on what support we offer and how to apply. It also provides details and application for our dedicated subsidised housing for new entrants to the book trade located at Whetstone. With funds provided by the merger with Matthew Hodder Charitable Trust, we are able to support those seeking employment in the Book Trade, by covering interview costs: such as travel, subsistence or overnight accommodation, primarily for people under 30 in financial need.  We can also support younger people undertaking education and training courses which will lead to a career in the industry, such as post-graduate degrees in Publishing, or courses in bookbinding.  Usually these will be support with living costs rather than tuition fees, but we have also helped with membership fees (such as for the Society of Young Publishers) and other related costs to help potential trade entrants. Ms B was a bright and enthusiastic graduate from the north of England keen to break into the Book Trade. She was offered a two-week work placement with a prestigious London publishing house, but didn’t think she could take up the offer because she couldn’t afford to stay in London for the duration of the placement. BTBS invited her to stay in their Guest Bungalow for two weeks and gave her a grant of £400 to cover her travel and living costs. “This particular programme recognises that it is difficult for young people to get a foot on the ladder in today’s rapidly-changing industry and we will be delighted if our assistance can help overcome some basic obstacles.” David Hicks – Chief Executive. Applications will be considered for: The cost of attending interviews, particularly but not exclusively in London eg travel, subsistence, overnight accommodation and appropriate clothing. Applicants will normally be under 30 years of age, resident in the UK and applying for jobs or internships within the UK Book Trade, in publishing primarily, but also within bookselling, wholesaling, and allied trades, including literary agencies etc. as well as bookbinding or conservation. Applicants will need to demonstrate financial need and for applications to be considered we need the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Telephone:
  • Bank details (Sort code and a/c number)
  • Proof of eligibility (e.g. offer letter)
  • Date of interview

We recognise that applications for some costs, particularly travel costs for interviews, may need to be processed and remitted quickly and the cooperation of applicants in enabling this will be expected and appreciated.


For paid internships of up to 6 months within the Book Trade additional funds can be released to cover costs including: travel, subsistence, rent and general living costs. Supporting Internships in the Book Trade This second initiative, also funded through the resources in the Matthew Hodder Fund, is aimed at encouraging talented younger people into the Book Trade. The scheme will cover those in paid internships who need extra support to afford these opportunities offered within the Book Trade, with travel, accommodation and living costs. The grant will be paid for a maximum of six months, entry requirements are set out below. The scheme is normally available for under 30’s, who are resident in the UK, applying for a job in the UK Book Trade, in publishing, bookselling or with literary agencies. BTBS will welcome applications either by the applicants or from companies, trade bodies or others acting on behalf of the applicant. Ms C was working for six months as an intern for a publishing firm in London, but struggling to cope on the minimum wage. BTBS was able to supplement her income with a grant of £300 per month for the duration of the internship. Since completing her internship, Ms C has secured a permanent marketing job in the Book Trade. “This innovative project deserves support from the trade and we are delighted that the close relationship between MHCT and BTBS, leading to the merger, has enabled this programme to get off the ground; we are sure it will be to the benefit of many young people, and to the trade itself.” Tom Biggs-Davison, former-Chairman MHCT

Application form

Support grant

How you can help

How you can help

A cake sale (with or without prosecco!), a book sale in your office, or a sponsored slim/read/run/swim etc are all great ways to have fun whilst you raise and donate funds to help colleagues in need in your own trade welfare charity.

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London Marathon:

We have at least five places a year in the London Marathon. For a £25 (inc VAT) registration fee and a promise to raise a minimum of £1500 in sponsorship, we can offer a chance to fulfil one of your life’s ambitions. Just contact for further details. We also welcome fundraising support from people who get places in other races and challenges.


We are able to give over £150,000 a year to book trade people who need our help, but we are dependent on donations from corporates within the trade, individuals and grant-making trusts. Regular donations from £5 to £10,000 a year currently raise £85,000 annually, but we can give double that to beneficiaries in a normal year, and sometimes demand is even higher. We don’t want to have to say no to an eligible, deserving application so all donations, regular or even one-off, are gratefully received.


We hold sales of donated books at The Retreat, which also raise around £75,000 each year. We are dependent on the input of volunteers, often Retreat residents, as well as the generosity of the trade and not forgetting the general public with an eye for a bargain. We know that many people, particularly those in the trade, want to support us, either by donation or by providing skills, time or resources and we urge everyone to get in touch with the team to share ideas and discuss how they can help. A grant of £1350 enabled the Chipping Norton Festival to run a short story project for primary school children. The money paid for two children’s authors to go into local schools and deliver creative workshops around Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. The children went on to write their own short stories which were published in a book to be sold at the festival and to parents and relatives.


If you wish to make a donation:

please contact us by phone or email to get details on how to make a direct payment / standing order into our bank


visit our virgin giving page: (please be aware that Virgin money take 2% of each donation)

Raise a free donation for The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) every time you shop!



The Team

Our experienced and dedicated team work alongside the trustees and are here to advise and
support all those who need our help. From the smallest problems, to life changing situations and events, they will always do all they can to operate the charity’s assistance with beneficiaries’ needs and requirements.

David Hicks - Chief Executive

He celebrated 40 years in the sector in 2017 - over 23 of these with BTBS, having become CEO of BTBS in 1994.

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Graduated with a degree in Business Studies in 1976, sponsored by De La Rue, and worked for a year in their security printing division. He then moved into charities, starting with The Children’s Society and after ten years moving through senior fundraising roles in three other ‘people’ charities, covering deafness, physical disability and care for elderly people. He celebrated 40 years in the sector in 2017 – over 23 of these with BTBS, having become CEO of BTBS in 1994. Although not having worked in publishing or bookselling, he is an avid reader and book collector (particularly Crime & Thriller Fiction), sponsor of the Petrona Award for best Nordic crime fiction in translation, and enjoys attending Crime fiction festivals and author events. In 2012, David became a Liveryman of The Stationers’ Company, and is currently a Trustee and Vice-Chairman of the Stationers’ Foundation (the Company’s charitable arm) and Chairman of its sub-committee, the Academic Awards Committee.


Glenda Barnard - Housing & Welfare

Graduated with a degree in Humanities in 1990 and subsequently trained as a solicitor, but decided not to pursue this as a career, instead working in Further Education as a student adviser and grants manager.

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Graduated with a degree in Humanities in 1990 and subsequently trained as a solicitor, but decided not to pursue this as a career, instead working in Further Education as a student adviser and grants manager at West Herts College, and then moving to Hertfordshire Library Service. Before joining BTBS in 2011 Glenda worked in managerial roles in local charities, setting up a day centre for homeless people and leading a “back to work” project for people with disabilities and/or health issues. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and adult daughter. She enjoys reading, modern art, films, spending time with her parents (discovering new cafes/combing the local charity shops for bargains!) and walking her Patterdale terrier, Hamish.


Nicki Cattle - Finance & Administration

Nicki joined BTBS in 2016 and says she loves working there! She enjoys reading so this was the perfect job to combine her love for books with her career in figures.

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Nicki joined BTBS in 2016 and says she loves working there! She enjoys reading so this was the perfect job to combine her love for books with her career in figures. Nicki has worked in charity finance for over 16 years and is ACCA qualified, she also has a degree in applied accounting. After 15 years with the YMCA, as a busy mum of two small children she wanted to reduce her working hours, so took the part-time role with BTBS. Outside of work Nicki enjoys spending time with her family, reading (or watching) murder mysteries, holidaying in Cornwall, and going out for drinks and dancing!


Latest News

Ways to donate…

If you wish to make a donation: please contact us by phone or email to get details on how to make a direct payment / standing order into our bank OR visit our virgin giving page: Raise a free donation for The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) every time you shop! Sponsor one of our marathon […]

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Team BTBS Cycle to raise funds for building project

The Book Trade Charity 2020 Appeal – Help Us Open Doors! Please help The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) to open doors – by building affordable housing for new entrants to the book trade and giving them a crucial start in their careers. Every donation, no matter how small, helps build not just rooms, but the […]

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Work starts at Whetstone!

Work has now started on our exciting new development at Bookbinders Cottages in Whetstone. Building started on 28th October and will hopefully complete by December 2020. We are building 17 affordable one and two bedroom flats, primarily for young people entering the Book Trade in London.

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Suzanne Collier – Super fundraiser!

We would like to say a huge thank you to our friend and amazing supporter Suzanne Collier who has raised over £4000 for The Book Trade Charity by cycling the C2C. What a challenge – Thank you so much! Read more about her adventure here

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Next Book Sale at The Retreat

Unfortunately we do not know when the next booksale will be due to Covid-19 restrictions. We will update details here as soon as we can open again…




Useful Links

Please find a selection of useful links below:

Entry to the Booktrade – BTBS support for young people

Bookcareers – BTBS considers funding for appropriate candidates


Booksellers Association

Publishers Association


Stationers – can provide bursaries for relevant post graduate courses

Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association

BIC – training/ re-training courses are eligible for BTBS funding / bursaries

The Printing Charity

Print Futures – BTBS sponsors these awards

The Society of Authors –

The Spare Room Project – The Spare Room Project aims to help, by matching interns from outside London with people in the book industry who live in the capital and who can offer them a place to stay.

Contact us

To find out more about how BTBS might be able to help you with a one off, or ongoing issue, please feel free to contact us in any of the following ways.

Write to us at:

Talk to us on: 01923 263128

Or call to arrange a visit to The Foyle Centre, The Retreat, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8LT

Please click below to read our Privacy Notice and our guide to how we use Personal Data

General Privacy Notice

Guide to Personal Data held by BTBS

We are proud to subscribe to an industry-wide commitment to professional behaviour, please find a copy of this here: