One of the vital sources of income for charities, community groups and individuals in need in Leeds in austere times are charitable trusts. Normally set up by an individual or organisation with the aim of distributing money to benefit certain sectors of society, or society as a whole. Some trusts give money for general charitable purposes, while others have stricter criteria which you will have to meet to be eligible to apply.
The Metcalfe Smith Trust in Leeds was established in 1867 by a Victorian banker and benefactor, John Metcalfe Smith, who built Cookridge Convalescent Hospital in memory of people living and working in the borough (as it was then) of the city.
Following the establishment of the NHS the Trust sold the land connected with the hospital and used the money to run it’s own convalescence home in Harrogate for some years. When this was closed and sold in the late 1960’s the Charity Commission approved a new scheme for the Trust. Since 1971 the Trust has been using the interest on the invested sale proceeds to make grants for the relief of hardship connected with sickness, ill-health or disability.
Today the Metcalfe Smith Trust make grants where the money will make a significant difference to the quality of life or independence of adults or children with a physical disability, long term illness or a mental health difficulty living in Leeds. It provides grants for the purchase of equipment, or pay for course fees leading to greater independence or employment, or provide a respite break which enable any of the above.
The trust is able to make grants to both eligible individuals and organisations up to a maximum of £2,500. Please take a look at http://www.metcalfesmithtrust.org.uk for further information and application details. The trust meets twice a year, in May & November to make decisions and award grants. The next deadline is May 10th 2012. Though it also has an emergency grants programme which can make awards within a month up to a maximum of £100.
Says Jason Slack, Chairman of the Trust “It’s amazing to think that the legacy of a little-known Victorian banker is still making a difference to lives in Leeds today. We would appreciate it if this information could be circulated amongst community groups and professional support workers who will be working with individuals for whom these grant programmes could make a life-changing difference.”
Follow the trust on twitter for updates, Q & A’s, reminders & news @M_Smith_Trust
(other Leeds community blogs are welcome to share this article on their sites to help spread this news across the city further)