Colin Mears bequest consultation

Please note that the Colin Mears bequest consultation has now closed. Details below about the consultation, the deadline for comments was 15 May 2015.

Since 2000 the Colin Mears bequest has funded the annual award of a £5,000 cash prize to the winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal and provided an annual financial contribution towards the running of the awards.

CILIP manages the bequest and is proposing to change the terms so that a cash prize is awarded to the winner of the Carnegie Medal in addition to the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, and to allow a greater proportion of the disposable revenue from the fund to contribute towards award costs.

This consultation is your opportunity to provide your comments on the proposals and how you believe you will be affected.

About the bequest

Colin Mears, a Worthing based accountant, had a long-standing interest in children’s illustration and was a keen collector of works by Kate Greenaway and Edward Ardizzone. The bulk of his collection was left to the Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.

Through a trust fund the bequest provides the Kate Greenaway winner with a cash prize and up to 20% of the disposable revenue can be used towards the costs of the awards.

The purpose of the will that describes the bequest is “for the advancement of education by means of encouraging the production and reading of books”. The detail of the will outlines how the income and capital growth of the trust fund will be used to provide prize money for a maximum of three people a year to recognise distinguished illustration in children’s books.

Reviewing the bequest

When reviewing grants and legacies in 2014 CILIP Trustees identified that the disposable revenue from the trust fund was increasing at a greater rate than it was being spent. Trustees asked the Awards Working Party to review and provide recommendations.


The Working Party have recommended that the disposable revenue is used to provide a cash prize to the winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal and to be able to use more than 20% of the revenue towards the costs of the awards, depending on the return from investments. The capital value of the trust fund would be maintained.

The Carnegie Medal is awarded to the writer of an outstanding book for children and young people and currently the winner does not receive a cash prize.

The Working Party believes that the awarding of cash prizes for both Medals would better fulfil the purpose of the will, “for the advancement of education by means of encouraging the production and reading of books”, than to award additional prizes for illustration. A cash prize for each Medal winner would provide greater parity in the recognition of writing and illustration within the award structure, and would help raise the profile of the awards and the importance of outstanding books for children and young people overall.

Since 2000 the awards and accompanying shadowing scheme, where young people read and engage with the shortlisted books, has grown and strengthened. Shadowing has grown from a grassroots activity to a national scheme involving up to 100,000 young people each year. The scheme provides free educational activities, videos of the authors and illustrators talking about their work, a place where young people can write reviews, create polls, write blogs and upload their own videos; none of which existed in 2000. As the activity has grown so have the costs, which have been largely met by the generosity of sponsors. More current and potential activity could be funded through the disposable income.

Information regarding current finances of the fund

The current capital value of the Colin Mears legacy is approximately £380,000 – in other words this is what the original bequest would be worth in real terms now.  The aim of the proposed change is to ensure the capital value of the fund is maintained but that surpluses above that are able to be used for the original purpose which was described in Colin Mears’ will as being “for the advancement of education by means of encouraging the production and reading of books”.  

The proposal is that the winners of the Carnegie and Greenaway medals receive a cash prize of £5,000 each. The terms of the bequest also allow up to 20% of the disposable income to be used to publicise and administer the awards.  The request to the Charity Commission is that the CILIP Board has the discretion to use a higher percentage of the disposable income if it sees fit to do so. 

However, the terms of the bequest only allow the Trustees to use disposable income that is in excess of the amount required to maintain the capital value of the fund. This means that the decision of the Board on how much could be used towards the costs of the awards would always depend on the performance of the fund in that year and its estimated capital value.  

Next steps

Outcomes from the consultation will be used to inform the Charity Commission’s consideration of changing the objects of the Colin Mears fund.

If the Charity Commission agrees to change the objects we aim to introduce the proposed cash prize for the winner of the 2016 CILIP Carnegie Medal and subsequent years the Medal is awarded.


Mark Taylor, Director of External Relations, CILIP


CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals:
Shadowing scheme:


The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. CILIP’s vision is a fair and economically prosperous society underpinned by literacy, access to information and the transfer of knowledge. CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014.