Tina Swani, CEO of Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust discusses the problems causes by the cost-of-living crisis
The aftermath of the Covid19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have been major contributors to the current global cost-of-living and energy crisis and as a result, SuttonColdfield Charitable Trust expects to receive a greater influx of applications from organisations and individuals applying for grants from the Trust.
We are proud to say that over the past two years, we have continued to award well over £1,000,000 in grants each year to individuals and organisations to support residents living in Sutton Coldfield. This has included over £74,000 of school clothing grants, amongst other grants to schools and non-profit community organisations. Our grants have enabled more people to access arts, culture, employment, foodbanks, sports, emotional wellbeing support, and activities to reduce loneliness.
We have also awarded grants to non-profit organisations that have put sustainable initiatives in place such as low energy lighting and heating as these are both cost-reducing and also support the environment.
We anticipate that the volume of grant applications will continue to increase as demand grows, but recognise that not all organisations and individuals in Sutton Coldfield know we can help.
The mission of the Trust is to alleviate hardship and improve the quality of life for residents of the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield through the provision of housing and grant awards to support individuals and community organisations.
We support individuals experiencing a range of circumstances such as ill-health, disability, or other disadvantage, and anyone in these categories can make an application for items such as domestic equipment, further education, childcare costs or for other necessities.
“Inclusion is a big priority for the Trust. We understand the state of the current economic climate has meant that many individuals and families are struggling to afford the basics, so we want individuals and organisations to know how to make a grant application – particularly those who may not have reached us in the past.
“The application deadline for school clothing grants closed in June 2022 and re-opens in March/April 2023 – more information will be advised nearer the time.
“Our website sets out how to apply for a grant – please visit the grants page on https://www.suttoncoldfieldcharitabletrust.com.
Who are we?
The principal objectives of the Trust are the provision of Almshouses, the distribution of funds and other measures for the alleviation of hardship and other needs for inhabitants and organisations within the boundaries of the former Borough of Sutton Coldfield.
The Trust’s origins can be traced back to Tudor times. Throughout a long history it has improved the lives of generations of people in Sutton Coldfield, particularly those in the greatest need. It has sustained its core priority to alleviate suffering, while redefining and extending its benefits to reflect changing times and needs.
Bishop Vesey, a native of Sutton Coldfield, persuaded Henry VIII to grant a Charter in 1528 establishing a Warden and Society (Corporation) to govern the Town. The Corporation was obliged to use rental and other income to provide poor relief and improve the locality. Over the next four centuries, other bequests and endowments came within the Corporation’s oversight.
Thomas Jesson, a local merchant, left land and money to provide apprenticeships for boys and to distribute bread to Sutton’s poor.
After a long and famous legal action, the Corporation’s charities were reorganised and enriched by lands acquired in the 1825 Enclosure Award. From this time, Almshouses were built and the Charity provided elementary schools (including teaching and uniforms) for Sutton’s children. Practical necessities such as coal, blankets and boots were widely distributed. In pre-welfare state days, the charities financed nursing and medical care for needy people and made grants to widows.
The Town became a Borough and the Trust took over the Corporation and various related charities within one body. This operated closely alongside the Council and was administered by the Town Clerks. New Almshouses were built, including two in the 1890s from a bequest by Frances Lingard.
At the time Sutton Coldfield became part of Birmingham, the independence of the Trust was safeguarded, ensuring the continuing provision of benefits for individuals and organisations within the former Borough boundaries. Although the separate historic charities have been consolidated into one charity, the Trustees’ fundamental aims and priorities are still very similar to those pursued by Bishop Vesey and his successors over nearly five centuries.
The name of the organisation was changed to Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust to more appropriately reflect the Trust’s role within the town as an independent charity, which no longer has a direct association with the local authority.