Swans Trust  is Shaftesbury’s Development Trust set up in 1997 to promote and develop the community and facilities of Shaftesbury.

The Trustees are all local people who volunteer their time and skills to work in partnership with the local authorities and others for the benefit of the community.

The Trustees

Anna McDowell - Jenny Parker - John Parker MLI
Pam Cruickshank - Ross Cruickshank - Rachel Diment
Dr. Richard Tippins - Tony Cuff


Thank you
for your donation to
Swans Trust

Amount:   GBP

Swans Yard

Named after a noted coaching inn that once stood on the site, it was an electricity substation and depot until 1996. Signpost Housing Association bought the site in 1999 and developed it in partnership with Swans Trust to provide 13 badly needed affordable homes, as well as the 5 retail units and a pedestrian link way between the High Street and Bell Street. Swans Trust took a 190 year lease in 2001 on the access and ground floor units to develop them as a craft centre, café and community office.

The Yard is Swans Trust's major ongoing project. The retail units are used primarily for small and startup businesses with a creative aspect, giving small traders a chance to get established with plenty of support and in a community atmosphere. Several businesses have successfully flown the nest and expanded to prime locations in Shaftesbury, Salisbury and Bath.

Swans Yard is now an established, vibrant and attractive part of Shaftesbury town, with many Open Days and events throughout the year - but we are always seeking to further develop its art and craft emphasis.

Before... The plan... After

The Archway

Designed and built by local craftsmen, DaveTomlin and Andrew du Mont, it was put up by volunteers and opened in December 2003 by Lord Whitty.

Funding came from: Age Concern, The Town Council, Trinity Trust and public donations

The Community Office

The office in Swans Yard provides an administrative base for the Trust and the Yard and also offers photocopying, computer access and other office services to the public at large. See our price list for more info.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 4:00 pm.


Would you like to join us? (Now over 1000 Members!)

Joining the Swans Trust only costs £1 for life membership which is first and foremost a commitment to our community. (You can also get a discount on photocopying etc.) We are always looking for new volunteers as the more we have the more we can do. As always, there are jobs to be done that just need time, fund raising and money. Even an hour or so a week can make all the difference.

If you are new to the area, volunteering is an excellent way of getting to know people and enjoying the friendship of the town.

Skills we could use and jobs you could do

Gardening & maintenance - Shop stewarding - Writing, editing and typing - Filing and admin - Events staff - Public relations - Computer and networking - Grant finding & applications - Staffing the office - Project initiation, management and development - Project accounts and admin.

Swans Trust, Swans Yard, High Street, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP78JQ         Registered Charity no. 1063757
Telephone 01747 850944 - Email swanstrust@shaftesburydorset.com