The Almshouse Association was formed in 1946. Its purpose is to safeguard the welfare of residents and the interests of charities and their buildings. As a membership organisation we provide guidance and support to the clerks and trustees of individual charities and also represent the almshouse movement at local, regional and national level.
We provide advice to members by telephone, email and post. Training seminars are organised around the country to enable as many member charities as possible to attend and the directors attend local meetings of charities whenever possible.
The member pages of our website provide many template policies and model documents together with information on topical issues as well as the opportunity to confer with other charities on subjects of interest to all almshouses.
To become a Member of the Association, the charity must offer almshouse accommodation and residents must be beneficiaries of the charity. The Governing Document of the charity must include providing accommodation in its objects.
Each member pays an annual subscription which is based on the number of almshouse dwellings owned by the trust. To find out about subscription fees, click here.
As well as email and telephone advice, members of the Almshouse Association have access to the following publications and services:
Standards of Almshouse Management (SAM) and Support and Care for Residents are benchmark manuals supported by the Charity Commission. They provide detailed guidance on almshouse matters.
The Almshouses Gazette
Published quarterly, the Almshouses Gazette is posted out to all member charities with back issues available in the members area of our website. It contains almshouse news and stories as well as guidance and advice on governance and compliance.
Model Policies and Documents
Document templates and model policies that can be downloaded and customised for your charity including all policies required by the Charity Commission.
Training and seminars for both new and experienced trustees and clerks and Wardens/Scheme Managers. We aim to spread these geographically to give as many or our members as possible the opportunity to attend and provide speakers on topical issues. The seminars are a great opportunity to see another almshouse charity and gain ideas from others’ experience. The Association's representatives are in attendance to answer questions.
Online Training Courses through our partnership with an online training provider. Topics such as GDPR and Safeguarding can be accessed via a portal. Learning through webinars is also available to members.
The Almshouse Association has a dedicated mediation scheme for members, made available through the Society of Mediators.
Regional and Local Meetings
The Association encourages regular local meetings of almshouse charities as these are an excellent way of getting to know the almshouses in your area and are a good opportunity to get together to discuss local issues. We also support our members with Regional Meetings and when possible, staff from the Association will attend.
Members receive full access to the Members’ pages of our website where there is a wealth of information to help trustees and staff manage and run their almshouses, including:Guidance Manuals, Model Policies and Documents, Latest news, current issues, member stories. Events and meetings, training, seminars, webinars, online courses, Members’ Forum, pages to advertise Resident Vacancies and Staff and Trustee positions.
Panel of Consultants
A directory of Legal Practices, Architects, Building Surveyors, Quantity Surveyors, Project Managers, Managing Agents and other specialists, all of whom have worked with and/or been recommended by, a member almshouse charity.
Two insurers offer special block policies at discounted rates, specifically tailored for, and only available to, almshouse charities in paid up membership.
Loans, Grants & General Funding Assistance
Member Charities in need of financial assistance for projects can apply to the Association for interest free loans. There are also grants available for struggling member charities. The Almshouse Association can also support members to access external funding by signposting members to the appropriate grant-making bodies and offer guidance on filling out the application forms, planning for modernisation, remodelling and new build projects.
Links are maintained with government departments, support charities and representative organisations. Regular meetings are held with the Charity Commission, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Almshouses (APPG), Homes England and the Land Registry. The Association lobbies on behalf of almshouse charities especially when new legislation has unintended consequences for the movement. An example would be the Right to Buy Scheme where we successfully achieved an exemption from this legislation for almshouse charities.
If you would like more information and/or are interested in joining the Association please contact us for an Application form.