The Gunmakers’ Company Charitable Trust was formed in 2003 and is a registered charity (No.1100227). The objects of the GCCT are as follows:
- To promote, for the public benefit, the improvement of special craft and technical skills employed in the gun and allied trades and in associated crafts, by the provision of scholarships for the advancement of education of persons involved in these trades and crafts, which include metalwork, woodwork, leatherwork, casemaking, engraving, computer sciences connected with machinery and ballistics, and environmental sciences connected with noise and cartridge design;
- To relieve individuals connected to the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers and their families, who are in need by the provision of grants;
- To provide grants for any charitable purposes connected with the making and usage of guns;
- To provide grants for charitable purposes connected with the City of London or other places in which the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers is situated.
The British sporting gun industry stands at the intersection of two worlds. Its past is in the traditional crafts – intricate woodwork for a hand-finished gun stock, high precision hand-work to fit actions and to regulate barrels, and fine metal engraving for the action. Its present is in high-tech. Without computer-controlled metalworking machinery, it would be impossible to make parts of the strength and precision required for modern guns, particularly at an affordable price. Finding craftsmen who can straddle these worlds is difficult. The Trust is focusing, therefore, not only on providing opportunities for newcomers to acquire craft skills, but also on helping experienced craftsmen to learn the requisite technical skills that are increasingly necessary, if British gun making is to compete successfully in the 21st century.
In 2007 a bursary scheme was established to support members of the gun trade wishing to employ apprentices. Typically, each apprentice receives up to £5,000 per annum for a period of 3 years. Our experience is that this level of support overcomes the initial economic obstacles faced by employers wanting to bring new recruits into gun making. After all, the apprentice is not at first fully productive, and the employer loses further productivity due to the time devoted to training. A small craft workshop can ill afford either. To date, nine apprentices have completed their training with sponsorship from the GCCT, and a further five are in progress. A trustee is appointed to mentor each apprentice and to monitor his or her progress.
Certificates and awards
To recognise and promote excellence in gunmaking, the GCCT sponsors both a certificate and an award scheme. The certificate denotes a mastery of the craft. Working gunmakers are encouraged to submit a sample of their work to a panel of master gunmakers. If it is judged to be of professional standard, the applicant is awarded Gunmakers’ Certificate to attest to his or her abilities. Truly outstanding work can also be entered for the McMillan Trophy, which is awarded periodically to recognise exceptional achievement in gunmaking. The prize includes a commemorative silver medal and certificate.
Other charitable activities
The Trust provides a range of smaller grants for training, travel and education for those working in gun making and allied trades. Funding is also provided for the training of conservators working in arms, armour and other metals and grants have been awarded to students at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Glasgow Museum. In addition, the Trust makes grants to people connected with the gun trade who have fallen on difficult times.
The Trust also awards a limited number of one-off grants to charitable activities connected with the City of London and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
Applications for funding, the award of Gunmakers’ Certification or the McMillan Trophy should be submitted in writing to The Secretary to the Trustees, GCCT, The Proof House, 48-50 Commercial Road, London E1 1PL or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.