Colin, resident, Shepton Mallet Almshouses

Back in 2015, Shepton Mallet Almshouse trustees were midway through a comprehensive refurbishment of their mainly listed almshouses and at the time,  their historic “Breadroom” which was  serving as office space was also in dire need of attention.

The old ‘breadroom’ that served as offices before becoming the charity’s much needed 12th almshouse

After discussions, it was agreed that this facility would serve a much better purpose  if it was relinquished and turned into a much needed 12th almshouse, much of which would be funded through a very timely grant from the Quaker Housing Trust.

Colin says he is the good looking one on the left

The charity’s area of benefice includes a number of small villages and it was apparent from applicants (for almshouse residency) that they felt very isolated and abandoned because facilities were almost non-existent and there was an acute lack of public transport.

The Charity’s Ex-Officio got to hear about Colin, a retired soldier who rented in one of the villages who did not drive and had to catch two buses a day to get into the nearest town.

Colin serving in the Western Desert

Furthermore his nearest neighbour had found that she was no longer able to cope and had taken her own life, leading Colin to feel depressed and alone.

When interviewed for the new almshouse, he emerged as the person in most need and it was decided to offer him a place.

Colin at home in his library

Colin soon settled in, moved in his “library” (he has a great many books) and relishes his access to the town and particularly that he is now more easily able to see his daughter and support the Somerset and England cricket teams as an avid supporter.

Physically he probably lives just 5 miles from where he did but in reality he has moved a million miles.

He said to the trustees,

“Coming to live in an almshouse has changed my life”

Jeff Curtis of Shepton Mallet United Charities responded

“ this is why our trustees do what they do, to know that gives us immense satisfaction and our lives are irredeemably better for it.”

If you are an almshouse resident or family/friend of a resident, or a trustee and you would like us to tell your almshouse story, please get in touch by emailing

[top photos: LEFT Christmas party with almshouse residents; CENTRE Colin (left) with Treasurer Graham Cockill; RIGHT trustees and residents of Shepton Mallet United Charities]