The Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning

Supporting learning for life and for all.

The Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning started as an initiative to help professionals with their CPD. It has grown into a legacy that will support lifelong learning across the UK for years to come.

Our History

Jonathan Harris CBE set up the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning over forty years ago. Since then, it has evolved to offer life skills and education opportunities to people from all walks of life.

Forty years or so ago very few people had heard of CPD (Continuing Professional Development). In the early 80’s, some professional bodies – for example the Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Law Society and the RICS – imposed an obligation on their qualified members to carry out formal post-qualification study. Failure to comply could lead to expulsion.

At that time there were very few opportunities for busy professionals to continue their learning. So, there was a clear mismatch between obligations imposed on members by professional bodies and the ability for members to comply.

This was the reason for Jonathan Harris founding an educational charitable trust, known as the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning (originally called the Continuing Professional Development Foundation), which he did so in 1981. It provided lectures, seminars and learning opportunities for busy professionals – at a low cost but of high quality.

Known as the Continuing Professional Development Foundation Lecture Programme it proved extremely successful. Today, thousands attend the lectures or watch them online.

Later the Institute of Continuing Professional Development (iCPD) was founded to reward those who could demonstrate that they really did believe in the philosophy of keeping up-to-date. Members could display their commitment to CPD through the use of post-nominal letters – initially FInstCPD and then later MInstCPD.

Thirty years after its founding, both the iCPD and the Lecture Programme were “gifted to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors” who continue to expand what Jonathan Harris created nearly 40 years ago.

The Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning, in turn, has evolved to support learning and education amongst members of the wider society.

In 2020, the iCPD returned to sit under the umbrella of the Foundation. Most recently, the Institute has joined forces with the CPD Standards Office – part of the Professional Development Consortium. Together, the organisations are able to support individuals with their CPD by offering high-quality learning opportunities and valuable recognition of their commitment and achievements.

A lifelong learning legacy

Through the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning, the Institute of Continuing Professional Development and the CPD Lecture Programme, Jonathan Harris has created numerous opportunities for individuals to learn and develop their potential. What started as an initiative to help professionals with their CPD has grown into a legacy that will support and encourage lifelong learning for years to come.


Jonathan Harris CBE*
Sir Denis Pereira Gray Kt OBE
Lord Bichard of Nailsworth KCB
Dame Gillian Guy DBE

Previous Trustees have included Sir Leonard Peach and Sir Brian Hill who are since deceased.

Advisory Group

From the original creation of the Harris Foundation there has been a group of very experienced and high-profile individuals who have been very supportive and have been very happy to “endorse” the work of the Foundation by Jonathan Harris.

They include:

Lorraine Baldry OBE
Brig. (Retired) A W E Brister CBE
Neil Botten
Jonathan Caplan QC
Lord Carrington of Fulham
Graham Chase FRICS
Dr Geoffrey Copland CBE
Norman Davis
Brig. Mark St J Filler CBE
Prof. Barry Gilbertson FRICS*
Prof. Sir Malcolm Grant CBE
The Hon. Mrs Justice Hogg DBE
The Baroness Hooper CMG
Sir Christopher Howes KCVO CB
Lt Gen. Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE
Sir Geoffrey Leigh
Martin Leigh-Pollitt
Michael Napier CBE QC (Hon)**
The Rt Hon. Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
Peter Pereira Gray
Robert Peto FRICS*
John Plender
Simon Pott FRICS*
Duncan Preston FRICS
Vicky Pryce
Prof. Andy Ross FAcSS
Lt Gen. (Retired) Sir Freddie Viggers KCB CMG MBE
Lesley Webber OBE
Andrew Youens FRICS

*Former President of the RICS
**Former President of the Law Society

The Trustees and Advisory Group are all honorary fellows of the Institute of Continuing Professional Development.


Find out about the projects supported by the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning.

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

“Our Theatre” by Shakespeare’s Globe

The Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning has an arrangement with the Globe Theatre to encourage children, their parents, teachers and friends in the Southwark area to develop communication skills and self-esteem. An important ingredient for future success is an ability to communicate – all part of “lifelong learning”.

The project is under the banner of “Our Theatre”.

The Harris Foundation’s collaboration with the Globe, to encourage confidence and communication skills, began in 2018. It was unfortunately interrupted by the pandemic in 2020.

Our Theatre 2020: Macbeth

For Our Theatre 2020, Southwark schoolchildren and actors were due to come together to perform an edited version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Taking part were two mainstream secondary schools, one special educational needs school, The Globe’s Southwark Youth Theatre and an adult theatre company. Due to Covid-19, however, Our Theatre 2020 was unable to go ahead.

In 2019, Our Theatre actors performed Henry V. You can find out more about Our Theatre 2019 here.

Artis Foundation: Transforming Lives Through the Arts

The Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning supports Artis – a creative learning charity. Artis works with schools across the country to enhance learning and promote wellbeing through the arts. Using music, dance and drama, Artis brings the school curriculum alive, helping to boost academic achievement, improve speaking & listening skills and build confidence and self-esteem.

“Artis Bounce”

The Artis Bounce programme supports children and young adults with their mental health and wellbeing. Through music, drama and dance, young people are able to explore challenging issues and learn more about mental health. They are given the opportunity to express themselves and, ultimately, to build resilience – the ability to “bounce back” when times are tough.

“Our Mission is to transform lives through the arts by creating magical, high quality learning opportunities that help people flourish.” Artis

You can learn more about Artis’ approach and impact in the video above.

Music for All: Making Music Changes Lives

The Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning supports Music for All, a UK charity that helps people of all ages and social backgrounds gain access to music making. Learning and playing music brings with it a whole host of benefits. Now, with decreasing opportunities to access music through the state school system and local communities, the charity’s work is more important than ever.

Key aims

Music for All is dedicated to bringing the joys and benefits of music making to as many people as possible. Promoting the life-changing benefits is one of its key aims. It also aims to make grants available to support music groups and educational organisations; to donate instruments, help with instrument purchase and support music tuition; and to bring free ‘Learn to Play’ experiences to audiences across the UK. To discover more about the charity’s work, take a look at its impact stories.

How You Can Help

If you would like to make a donation to the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning, you can download our donations form. We greatly appreciate your support.