St. Mary’s Relief in Need Charity, generally known as St. Mary’s Charity, was established in 1975 when the residual assets of 26 charities founded by local people between 1524 and 1956 (19 of the charities were before 1800) were amalgamated and invested to provide a continuing income for grants to be made to needy individuals living in Nottingham, and to local organisations involved with the welfare of the needy.
The principal responsibilities of the 7 Trustees of the Charity are to ensure that the investment portfolio is managed effectively, and to authorise disbursements. The Lord Mayor and the Vicar of St. Mary’s are ex-officio Trustees. Together with five other Trustees they meet quarterly in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour in the Council House.
Applications for grants to individuals have to be endorsed and submitted by their support worker. Some are considered by the Trustees at their quarterly meetings, but to minimise delay, most are dealt with on the telephone by ad-hoc groups of 3 Trustees including the Chairman. The ability to process applications quickly has led to support workers using the Charity largely to help clients with urgent problems.
Most recipients are single mothers, often victims of domestic violence; they, and ex-offenders often have to be re-housed, and require items such as a washing machine, cooker or refrigerator, not generally available from charities which supply second-hand furniture and other household items. Mothers of young children often ask for a cot, bed or buggy.
Each year an average of 170 grants are made to individuals and grants are also made to organisations such as St. Peter’s Centre for Rough-Sleepers, Radford Care Group, Framework Night Shelter, and Emmanuel House.
St. Mary’s Charity incorporates St. Mary’s Discretionary Fund, from which grants are made annually to the priests in charge of the Nottingham Churches of St. Mary, St. Ann, St. Saviour and St. John/George, from which they make discretionary payments to persons in need encountered during the course of their parish ministry.
The Charity is able to help only a few of the neediest residents of Nottingham because it is constrained by all its income being derived from its endowment. The Trustees recognise the extent of need in the City and would like to do more to help. They invite residents of Nottingham, to consider making a legacy to St. Mary’s Charity, to increase its capital and thereby enable it to help more needy individuals in the City.