Almshouses

Almshouse charities play a significant role in providing accommodation for those in need throughout England and Wales. In addition many provide a major contribution to the national heritage due to their range of historic buildings. Combining heritage buildings with the provision of accommodation for those in need, can raise specific issues for those that manage almshouses, which are unique to this type of charity. The relationship between the charity and the residents of the almshouse is a complex one that needs to be properly understood, so that the needs of the resident are balanced against the interests of the charity as a whole.

We are experienced in acting for all types of almshouse charities, of all sizes, and are well versed in the unique structures and the operational issues that arise. We understand the need to provide sound practical advice, that addresses the legal issues faced by the almshouse charity, based on detailed sector knowledge.  

Our work with almshouse charities has included:

  • Advising on incorporations of almshouse charities as either companies limited by guarantee or charitable incorporated organisations
  • Applying for Charity Commission schemes to change the nature of the trusts underlying the almshouse charity, in order to enable the charity to either make alternative use of the property or widen its class of beneficiaries, or dispose of designated land
  • Restructuring investment permanent endowment and restricted funds
  • Advising on the ability to provide extra care and associated services to residents and the duties of trustees
  • Advising on the relationship with residents and, in appropriate cases, how to terminate such arrangements
  • Advising on mergers of almshouse charities
  • Considering relevant health and safety issues 
  • Advising on good governance and trustee duties
  • Dealing with legal requirements for construction of new almshouses

We are members of The Almshouse Association’s panel of consultants and speak regularly at their Trustees and Clerks seminars.

Supporting charities and social enterprises is our core focus.

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