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About Us

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.