Standards of Almshouse Management - Sixth Edition 2014
Almshouses trace their origins back over 1000 years and, in addition to the term almshouse, many were referred to as Bede House, Hospital and Maison Dieu etc. Today, there are over 1700 independent almshouse charities providing homes for around 35,000 residents throughout the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. The Standards of Almshouse Management (SAM) is produced by The Almshouse Association to provide advice on governance and best practice to its member charities. The manual has also been prepared in conjunction with the Charity Commission (CC).
Almshouse charities provide accommodation for those in need within a defined beneficiary group which is derived from the wishes of the benefactor and expressed in the Objects of the Charity as set out in the Scheme (governing document). The Charity Commission has the authority to amend the Scheme if it is considered that the original objects are no longer relevant due to changed circumstances. This is known as a Cy-Pres situation. The land upon which the almshouses lie is referred to as Specie Land for which special considerations apply.
A unique feature of almshouse charities is that they are governed by trustees who are often recruited locally, in accordance with the Scheme. A traditional feature in the design of an historic almshouse is a three sided square that combines a feeling of safety and security with a sense of community. Over 40% of almshouse charities occupy listed buildings.
Anthony De Ritter
Director, The Almshouse Association
Support and Care for Residents - Sixth Edition 2013
There is general agreement that independent living is much better for the individual, their families and the State but this can only be achieved if there is adequate support provided by the community. This manual is intended to advise and inform trustees, clerks and wardens/scheme managers in helping almshouse residents to remain safe and contented within their own homes for as long as possible, and to assist them in accessing care when and if it is needed.
In revising Support and Care for Residents, we have been conscious of the fact that both the National Health Service and the Benefits System are undergoing substantial change and in these circumstances, there is always the danger that our manual will be out of date before it reaches our member charities. Nevertheless, we have deliberately gone into some detail in describing the present arrangements in order to provide some context and because many of the changes will take time to be fully implemented.
I am most grateful to the Working Party for their hard work and dedication in preparing this book, and to those who have generously provided sponsorship, all of whose names are listed in this edition.
Although it has been decided to issue this edition of Support and Care for Residents in hard copy, there will also be an electronic version on our website which will be updated as necessary, and I would encourage all member charities to refer to this version in the future. I hope that it proves an invaluable source of reference.
Chairman of the Almshouse Association
Almshouses by Anna Hallett
Anna Hallett has lectured for a wide range of educational institutions including the Open University. Her interest in almshouses started in the Netherlands, where she was born, and has continued in Britain, where she has enjoyed discovering the many fascinating examples to be found in the most unlikely places. Enjoy this historical tour with her and the numerous colour photographs and illustrations. A Shire Book first published in 2004