Almshouse charities are significant providers of homes for people who are unable to afford to either purchase or rent a property and they therefore make a highly valuable contribution in providing homes to a large number of people whom the government would otherwise be obliged to house. In rural areas almshouses are often the only provider of accommodation for those in need.
It is not, however, simply a question of statistics. It is the quality of life that almshouses offer to residents that makes them unique and special, enabling people to remain independent and live their lives with dignity and fulfilment. In many cases residents are also able to live near to their families and know that in the background they are able to call upon help if needed.
While residents tend to be older people, others are catered for as a result of some almshouse charity schemes which specifically benefit particular groups including younger people, families, the disabled, ex-servicemen and women and specific trades and key workers. In an ageing society with an increasing number of people living into their eighties and nineties, the vital need for almshouse charities is bound to increase in the future which is why they are so worthy of help and support.
The Almshouse Association is the only organisation in the UK whose role is to support over 1,600 member almshouse charities which look to the Association for assistance and guidance in a number of different ways. Almshouse charities, being run by volunteer Trustees, rely heavily upon the Association for advice, especially in an increasingly complex legislative and regulatory framework. For details of services click here
The Association’s Rolling Fund, from which interest free loans are made available, assists Trustees in funding the cost of essential works such as re-roofing, replacement windows, new kitchens and bathrooms and damp proofing. Loans are also granted for the building of new almshouses and for re-modelling existing ones. The Fund, which was established in the late 1990s, was originally lending at a level of about £300,000 per year, but demand has been steadily increasing to the point that the annual figure is now in excess of £700,000. In order to replenish the Fund donations are urgently needed by the Association as well as to support and develop its services as a whole. If you would like to find out more about our Rolling Fund, we have produced a downloadable document called our ‘Case for Support’ which you can access by clicking here.
The provision of the overall services of the Almshouse Association is costly but in view of the fact that the majority of almshouse charities are small with less than twenty dwellings and only a modest income, the Almshouse Association keeps membership subscriptions as low as possible. This is why your help is so vital to us and in order that we may continue to give every support to our member almshouse charities, please consider making a contribution.