The Great Almshouse Census

30 November 2023

Dear Members

The Great Almshouse Census has now hopefully been received by all our main charity contacts via email, but just in case it has gone astray, we are also including a link in this website post. Please ensure only one census is completed per charity so please check to see who in your charity is responsible for completing it before you start.

The survey should take you between 5-10 minutes to complete. We would be most grateful if the census could be returned by Friday 15 December 2023, but do please let us know if you need more time. (If the information is not at your fingertips we would rather a “best guess”  over non-completion – so don’t worry too much about detailed investigation, ballpark figures are fine.)

Please click here to access the census

Why are we doing it?

We are trying to protect the character and status of almshouses and influence local and national government to treat almshouses as a very worthwhile and valuable service to the community. To do this we need to speak with confidence about the almshouse model and those it serves. We also need to keep developing our service to meet your current and future needs – to make your lives as trustees and clerks easier and, working with you, plan ahead for the long term.

Every question here has been ‘sweated over’ to make sure we are only asking questions that we know will be of value to you as members and the Association when making the case for support. Once completed we think the evidence produced will help put us in a very robust position to speak about the amazing contribution almshouse charities make in today’s society. We will gather the data and share it back with all our members before working with local and national government on a long-term engagement and profile raising project.

We know you are all so busy but your help in completing the census will be invaluable, and we promise we won’t ask you to do the same next year – this will serve for a good few years to come.

Thank you so much in advance. It’s really appreciated.
Warmest regards

Nick Phillips CEO
The Almshouse Association

P&G update: 30.11.23

Policy and Governance update – Autumn Statement, Decarbonisation fund, Pension Credit, Social Housing Act, Pets in Almshouses

Latest Policy and Governance legislation that could impact and/or may require action from our member charities, with links to further information where applicable:

The Government’s announcement in the Autumn Statement to unfreeze Local Housing Allowance has been welcomed in the housing sector together with the decisions to uplift benefits payments in line with 6.7% inflation and state pension by 8.5%. 

The Government is looking at updating Work Capability Assessments as part of wider efforts to help more disabled people and those with heath conditions into work, together with long term unemployed.


Wave 2.2. of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund opened on 20 November with a deadline of 19 January 2024, with £80m of additional funding, for match funding delivery through to 31 March 2026.  Whilst applications with fewer than 100 eligible social housing properties can be considered, the preference is for applications for at least 100 homes, a number which could be reached via a consortium from eligible applicants including registered charities that own social housing.  Visit:  

This builds on the £778m in Wave 2.1., but the Government did not choose to release the full £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, which seems a missed opportunity both in terms of financial and energy savings, and we hope this will be rectified in the Spring Budget – which is likely to be the last major financial change before the next General Election.  

The announcement of an additional £3bn for the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, which can be accessed to finance works to improve the quality of existing homes as well as for new much needed affordable housing, has been welcomed by the National Housing Federation, as this measure is aimed at Housing Associations with registered providers being offered loans of up to 30 years to build affordable housing.  

A further £450m had been announced for a future Round 3 of the Local Authority Housing Fund, which whilst most commonly used by Local Authorities to build homes, does provide scope to work with other housing bodies. 

Those who apply before the deadline could qualify for an extra £300 Cost of Living boost thanks to Pension Credit backdating rules. The average Pension Credit award is worth over £3,900 per year and it opens doors to other support, including help with housing costs, council tax and heating bills. 


Members will likely have seen that the Social Housing Act includes Consumer Standards. The Association has been working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to amend this aspect of the Bill through its progress in Parliament and has gained a small but important phrase in the Act. The phrase provides confirmation that the Consumer Standards will only apply to Registered Housing Providers (RHPs) and whilst this is helpful it is only half the battle. We are now working with The Charity Commission and DLUHC to seek exemption from a number of aspects of the Act as it stands:

  • Mutual Exchange – clearly unlikely to work for our members as their Scheme dictates the characteristics of the resident.
  • Resident Management – whilst we are sure you are regularly consulting and engaging with residents it is only trustees who can make the decisions on the management of the almshouse charity.
  • Tenancy Standards – clearly not been designed around Licence to Occupy and will need some unpicking.
  • Qualification – we are making a case for exemption for almshouse charities as we believe that asking trustees to complete a qualification on top of their existing commitment is not reasonable.

We realise that the aspect requiring RHPs to be responsible for anti-social behaviour in neighbourhoods is likely to be placing an unreasonable burden on members but the measures are based on reasonableness so hopefully that will be sufficient.

The Association is also watching the Renters Reform Bill as this also carries obligations that you may not be able to meet, although the wording in the Bill is changing to show “reasonable” steps. The only area where you will need to amend your policy is on allowing pets with the default position being to allow unless you have a strong reason not to. If you do not currently allow pets you may need to review the reasons for not allowing pets and add to your policy.

CPRE Report on Rural Affordable Housing in England

The Almshouse Association welcomes CPRE report on Rural Affordable Housing in England

CPRE has published an important report on rural affordable housing in England “Unravelling a crisis: The state of rural affordable housing in England”, stating that homelessness in the countryside has surged by 40% in just five years.   

The report has a number of findings and recommendations which The Almshouse Association welcomes and notes may also apply to urban areas, e.g. the impact of short term lets on local housing markets, supporting small scale community developments and why ‘affordable rent’ is not always the best measure of affordability for housing.  

The full report can be accessed via a link.  The CPRE along with The Almshouse Association are part of the “Rural Homelessness Counts Coalition” which is looking for people with either lived experiences of rural homelessness or community representatives supporting people facing rural homelessness, to help spread the word as case studies. 

If you are interested, please contact our Policy and Engagement Office, Charles Fifield via  .

Image Credit: CPRE Report

29 November 2023

Trustee opportunity with The Almshouse Association

Our Mission: For almshouses to be recognised as the exemplar form of community housing.

There are very few institutions that have lasted a century even fewer that have lasted five hundred years. Almshouses have been part of our social heritage for over a thousand years. Today new almshouses are being built in towns and villages across the country. The almshouse model today is beginning to be recognised for its unique impact on the lives of residents offering a unique form of community living, free from isolation and with the spirit of caring and companionship at its heart.

77 years ago trustees of almshouse charities gathered to form The Almshouse Association in order to protect the almshouse charity model and raise the profile of almshouses. The Almshouse Association today offers its members a wealth of support from the strategic to the very practical. The extensive range of services, guidance, training and one-to-one support is only part of the story; behind the scenes the team works tirelessly with partners and Government to ensure almshouses are recognised in policy and the charity model is protected.

There is an opportunity to join the board of trustees of The Almshouse Association.

Role: Being a trustee of The Almshouse Association is to help lead the national strategy for the almshouse movement. The trustee board is seeking individuals who care about others who face poverty and poor housing, consider that they also deserve the best in housing and have an interest in improving the lives of others through helping run the membership organisation for our 1,600 members.

The trustee board is made up of dedicated and committed professionals who meet regularly either as full or sub committee members and have a very strong long term strategic goal. The role of the board is to envision and lead strategy and support the Chief Executive of an excellent and proactive executive team of staff to deliver the strategy.

We are seeking applicants who care about making a difference, with significant skills and experience in the following areas particularly:

  • IT/Web
  • Branding/Marketing/PR
  • Fundraising/Sponsorship
  • Heritage and Historic Buildings

We actively encourage qualified applicants from a diverse background to apply.

Time commitment: There are four half day board meetings per year of which two are held online and two in person. There are additional meetings throughout the year in sub committees or to address emerging or urgent topics but they are infrequent. Most trustees sit on an associated sub committee.

Remuneration: This is a voluntary position and therefore does not pay a salary. All reasonable expenses are reimbursed.

Term of office: Three years initially.

How to apply: Please review the web site and send your CV to Angela Waters PA to Nick Phillips Chief Executive at or the chairman of the Nominations Subcommittee Paul Mullis at

The closing date for applications is Friday 16 February 2024

LURA 2023 – Levelling Up and Regeneration Act

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (LURA) received Royal Assent on 26 October 2023. There are a number of key elements within it that will be of particular importance to almshouse charities:

  • Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), will be retained by Greater London and Wales, but replaced in the rest of England by a new Infrastructure Levy (IL) system, which will be non-negotiable and set locally. It will also eventually replace s.106 contributions.
  • Local Authorities must provide an exemption for Charities from IL using property for a charitable purpose, full details are within Schedule 12, Part 1.
  • CIL/IL itself can be used for a wider range of “infrastructure” including “affordable housing” which is defined as:
    • (a) social housing within the meaning of Part 2 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, and
    • (b) any other description of housing that CIL / Infrastructure Levy regulations may specify.

      This is a very important clause, as it could allow almshouses as community housing to be considered as “affordable housing” for the purposes of receiving funding from CIL / Infrastructure Levy. 

Another potential source of funding will be from Community Land Auctions (CLA), where the receipts can be put towards infrastructure on a similar basis to CIL / Infrastructure Levy with “affordable housing” again defined as

  • (a) social housing within the meaning of Part 2 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, and
  • (b) any other description of housing that CLA regulations may specify.

The Almshouse Association has been lobbying hard for almshouses to be included within the definition of “affordable housing” within the regulations which will follow LURA in due course. For those members who are Registered Housing Providers, the National Housing Federation has produced a useful summary of LURA at:

There are a wide range of other matters, such as planning and regeneration within LURA and also a section to do with Heritage which updates the Listed Buildings Act.

The full text of LURA 2023 can be found here:

  • Part 4 – Infrastructure Levey and Community Infrastructure Levy (pages 164-166)
  • Schedule 12 – Infrastructure Levey – Part 1 England – Part 2 Consequential amendments (pages 440-469).

posted 9 November 2023

Association launches Friends of Club!

We are so thrilled to announce the launch of our much-anticipated Friends of The Almshouse Association Club!

The response to our new club has already been overwhelming, and we are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to meet and welcome all our new Friends in the coming months.

Behind the scenes, our team is hard at work, preparing the inaugural edition of our newsletter, ‘Friends in Alms’.

Additionally, we’re in the early stages of planning our first almshouse tour, which promises to be an engaging and insightful experience for all involved.

We want to emphasise that Friends of is an inclusive community, and we warmly invite you to spread the word among your fellow trustees, friends, and family. This club is not just a social gathering; it is a platform that offers a unique range of activities and projects for you to participate in. More than that, it’s an opportunity to foster meaningful connections with like-minded individuals who share your unwavering passion for almshouses.

All the while, supporting the almshouse movement to continue to grow and flourish and provide safe and warm homes for people in housing need.

We are thrilled to embark on this journey with you and are excited about the positive impact we can collectively make in preserving and promoting the rich history and mission of almshouses.

Interested in joining the Friends of Club?

Please do click here for more information and our Friendship Registration form.

We can’t wait to welcome you!

posted 1 November 2023

P&G update: 26.10.23

Levelling Up and Regeneration Act; Party conferences; Regulator of Social HousingCost of Living PaymentsCharity Commission

Latest Policy and Governance legislation that could impact and/or may require action from our member charities, with links to further information where applicable:

****STOP PRESS****

Levelling Up and Regeneration Act received Royal Assent on Thursday 26th October – The Almshouse Association will provide a full update shortly.

2023 Party Conferences

Party Conference Update: Desire to build more housing across the political spectrum 

Autumn is party conference season and this year saw an increase in their importance for all the main political parties, as there must be a general election by January 2025 at the latest. 

  • The Conservatives in Manchester were less vocal about housebuilding announcements than the other parties. The Conservative Party is concentrating on the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, its flagship housing and communities legislation and The Almshouse Association continues to lobby for almshouses to be included within the definition of affordable housing for planning purposes.  The fringe programme at the Conservative party conference showed that housing is increasingly being seen as an issue which must be tackled if their pledge to build 300,000 homes each year is to be achieved.  
  • The Labour party conference took place in Liverpool and they were much more vocal about their ambitions for housebuilding, albeit somewhat matching the Government’s target by pledging 300,000 new homes each year. In contrast, however, there were proposals to establish new towns, allow some housebuilding in some parts of the green belt to be designated grey belt, making it easier to build on brownfield land and encourage more council house building.  Labour also had a busy fringe calendar for housing related matters. 
  • The LibDem political conference was held in Bournemouth and saw the party’s membership overrule its leadership by refusing to pledge to scrap the national target of building 380,000 new homes per year.  The Young Liberals were at the heart of the debate.  As part of overall housebuilding efforts, the LibDems are pledging to build at least 150,000 new council and social homes a year. 
  • The Green party in Brighton pledged to ensure a home that’s “warm, safe and affordable for everyone” was possible, giving the legal right for homes to be properly insulated, damp-proofed and mould-free, and with the cost of renting set in line with local wages. 

Party conference season has demonstrated that whilst there are clear differences between the parties on policy, for once all parties seem to be agreed on the principle of building more houses. 

This could be very important for the almshouse movement if it is matched at the local level by Councils and Councillors across the country, who are usually responsible for planning related matters on a local level.  Our Policy & Engagement Officer, Charles Fifield, a former Borough Councillor, attended the Conservative Party Conference. He spoke to a broad range of Councillors across a variety of fringe events and found general support for the almshouse concept from Councillors, once explained. 

To help spread the word more easily to MPs and Councillors, we have updated the public area of the website to include a specific page for MPs and Councillors, along the main horizontal menu bar, to make it more visible and would encourage members to use this too in correspondence with MPs and Councillors:  

Regulator of Social Housing 

RSH has been running a consultation regarding the level of fees it charges registered providers.  TAA has liaised with the National Housing Federation and are lobbying for a reduced fee basis for providers with less than 250 units, to ease the burden of the proposed doubling of the flat rate for providers with up to 1,000 units. 

The consultation closes on 31 October 2023. 

Cost of Living Payments dates announced 

Millions of households across the UK will receive £300 directly from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) between 31 October and 19 November.

  • Millions of households to receive £300 from DWP between 31 October and 19 November 2023 
  • This is the second of 3 payments totalling up to £900 supporting eligible people on means-tested benefits with the cost of living 
  • Payments make up part of government’s record financial support for the most vulnerable worth an average of £3,300 per household 
  • Tax credits-only customers who do not qualify for a payment from DWP will receive £300 from  HMRC  between 10 and 19 November 2023. 

Click here for details

Charity Commission 

The Charity Commission are increasingly tightening up on financial reporting deadlines i.e. Annual Return, Accounts and Trustees Annual Report (TAR) together with up to date information on Trustees,  which some had fallen behind with due to the Covid pandemic.   

We would remind all our members to keep up to date with their statutory filing duties as part of their legal obligations under the Charities Act 2011.  Further information, guidance and useful links can be found here.

posted 26 October 2023

HRH The Princess Royal opens new homes at Cutbush and Corrall almshouses in Maidstone

HRH The Princess Royal opened twelve new almshouses at the Cutbush & Corrall Charity in College Road, Maidstone. She was accompanied by His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, the Lady Colgrain.

HRH, escorted by the Clerk & Chief Officer of the Cutbush & Corrall Charity, Liz Abi-Aad, visited residents in their homes and met with invited guests as they enjoyed lunch including local dignitaries, residents, trustees, staff and contractors who had worked on the project.

Six existing almshouses originally built in the 1920s were converted into twelve flats when trustees realised the houses were too big, too costly to run and too difficult for individuals with reduced mobility to negotiate.  The new one-bedroom flats provide compact, high-quality, affordable accommodation suitable for the Charity’s beneficiaries.

HRH unveiled a plaque to commemorate the event and presented Caroline Highwood and Sue Darbyshire, both trustees of the charity, with long service awards.

The Charity welcomes applications from local people who meet the criteria for living in an almshouse. Please contact 01622 765612 for further information.

About Cutbush & Corrall Charity

Often described as “Maidstone’s hidden gem”, the Cutbush & Corrall Charity (213463) was founded in 1865 by Thomas Cutbush. His legacy lives on with today’s trustees committed to providing “affordable housing for older people who would otherwise find it difficult to meet their housing needs”.

Over the past 157 years, the Charity has grown significantly.  It is now the only almshouse charity in Maidstone and with 154 properties one of the largest almshouse charities in the country.

Further reading:

posted 26 October 2023

Mopping up after Storm Babet

The Mills Charity along with many other properties in the town of Framlingham, Suffolk have been affected by flooding due to Storm Babet.

Staff and trustees of the The Mills Charity were quick to help clean up as soon as the flooding receded.

The Charity has four short term properties all of which have extensive flooding. Unfortunately, one of these properties affected by the devastating floods was Tomb House and the Tomb of Thomas Mills, the Charity’s founder.

Fortunately, the flooding did not affect any of our residents in any of their almshouses, although an evacuation procedure was in place as water levels continued to rise.

In the late 1600s Thomas Mills lived and worked in Framlingham. He was a trained wheelwright, a timber merchant and he was a dissenting Baptist. He was a wealthy man inheriting a timber importing business in Wapping from his wife. Thomas also owned land in Dallinghoo, Dennington, Parham, Ufford, Pettistree, Wickham Market and Framlingham.

When in Framlingham he and his wife would stay in Tomb House. In secret, Thomas would meet fellow Nonconformists at Lincoln’s Barn, which has conveniently discrete and away from prying eyes. Thomas Mills died in 1703 and being a dissenter he was not offered an Anglican burial in the churchyard; he was buried in a tomb in his garden. His trusted servant William Mayhew is also buried in this tomb. Thomas left his fortune for good causes in Framlingham and other locations where he had had business interests. His will ordered the building of almshouses for the elderly poor which still stand.

taken from Mills Charity website – The Mills Charity

posted 25 October 2023