The concept of the MDFET started at Coleg Elidyr, a further education college for people with learning disabilities in Wales. Coleg was Steiner based learning, teaching life skills through doing, recognising that those with learning disabilities need to do rather than just be told. At that time it was the only college of its kind in the country.
Margaret Dobson had been a major benefactor to the college. She wanted to do something for people at the college and after they had left and for others with similar needs.
Margaret Dobson agreed to set up a Trust, with the main beneficiaries being people with learning disabilities to help creative and viable, but mainly small local charities to cater for the needs of people who needed opportunities like Coleg Elidyr for further educational needs. The Trust would operate UK wide.
£500,000 was given by Margaret Dobson. There was also some fundraising done and a sum of approx. £50,000 raised from other individuals.
A group of people connected to Coleg Elidyr agreed to set up the Trust.
Following legal advice the Trust Deed was set up with a wide remit to allow for future change.
However, it was always intended that the Trust would give to smaller charities, where its support would add most value. This is carried out through projects, although if a charity needed running costs to stay viable this might be considered.
The Trust achieved its 30th anniversary in 2020. Although the income from the endowment has reduced, the Trust continues to fund projects in the spirit of the original intentions of Margaret Dobson.