Permanent Values in a Changing World

DHEF - Did You Know?

An interview with Sophia Pain, Trustee and Financial Director of DHEF

What is DHEF ( Dawliffe Hall Educational Foundation) and what does it do?

DHEF is an educational charity set up under the inspiration of St Josemaria Escriva, the Founder of Opus Dei, who passionately believed that education and personal development are basic human rights because they open the way out of ignorance, poverty and deprivation.

It encourages families and especially women of all ages and cultures and from every sector of society to reach their potential through formal and informal educational projects.


The activities of the charity are organised into 4 main areas:

  1.  Youth projects and Activities. Some 1400 girls aged 8-25 take part in youth activities ranging from Saturday clubs to participation in World Youth Day.
  2.  Social Inclusion through education and training.  The Baytree Centre is the biggest single project supporting social inclusion for inner city families.
  3.  Family and Parenting. DHEF works with over 1200 families in the UK through clubs, family enrichment courses and the Baytree Centre.
  4.  Volunteering. Each year more and more volunteers support the work of DHEF in projects and activities ranging from mentoring on courses at Baytree to restoring churches in remote Spanish villages. In 2011, 835 volunteers made possible the services offered by the charity.

Many of us visit a centre such as Winton, Woodlands or Hillcrest and perhaps have children who attend a club organised by that centre. What is the relationship between the centres and DHEF?

 DHEF owns the centres which are run by some of the people living there. Those managing each centre identify and foster initiatives and needs for their centre.  DHEF provides support for local and national projects as needed.  This can be administrative, like providing insurance or processing CRB checks for volunteers, or financial, like raising funds for Hazelwood House Conference Centre in Glasgow.

What are the main projects that DHEF supports?

In the UK, at present, DHEF is focusing on:

  • The Baytree Centre – a project to help disadvantaged women and girls in Brixton (one of the most deprived areas in the country)to gain employable skills.
  • Ashwell House Student Residence – an intercollegiate university hall of residence in London with excellent study and social facilities. Students are encouraged to work hard, have fun and engage in volunteering projects.
  •  Hazelwood House - a fine old house offering a variety of residential educational and cultural courses and opportunities for study and reflection.

DHEF also supports the work of overseas charities with a similar ethos.  These include:

  •  Kianda  - a Kenyan charity that runs a girls' school, a catering college and a clinic that treats women working in the tea plantations and their children.
  •  La Fundacion Promocion Social de la Cultura– an organisation providing economic support to diverse educational programmes.

How does DHEF fund these projects?

Around 19% of the Charity’s income comes from donations.  This is mostly made up of the regular monthly donations from friends and beneficiaries.

34% comes from the activities we run, for example, residence fees paid by Ashwell students.

47%  comes from grants.  This is the area most affected by the current economic downturn.


When I make a donation or fundraise where does the money go?

Practically all the money is spent to support the projects.  Hazelwood, Ashwell and Baytree all require subsidies to repay loans for the purchase of the buildings. As in a family home, the cost of running smaller centres is met by the people living there. Mortgage costs are covered by donations.

We like to own our buildings so that we can customise them to our needs. For example we may want to build an oratory.

A very small proportion of our income (around 5%) is spent on essential support like the costs of managing DHEF, legal fees and insurance.


Can I choose which projects I want to support?

You can.  When you make a donation just let us know where you want the money to go.

What can I do to help and whom should I contact?

Any donation no matter how small can make a difference.  You can try fundraising or volunteering or use one of the on-line tools like the Giving Machine or Easy Giving which generate funds for DHEF without costing you anything. You may like to leave a legacy.

To find out more phone us at DHEF on 020 8992 3104 or have a look in the 'Help Us' section of the website.