The Saddlers' Company has a long and honourable tradition of charitable activity, particularly involved with the interests and well-being of members of both the Company and of the saddlery trade.
The quarterly subscription, or quarterage, paid by all members at the regular three-monthly Quarter Courts was from the earliest days used for the benefit of the widows and children of members.
The Company's Poor Boxes have been passed around at every Court and Livery meeting 'time out of mind' so that their contents could be used to alleviate hardship among elderly, retired and infirm saddlers.
The ancient tradition of the Bounty Day is continued at the December Court each year when each member of the Court of Assistants nominates a charity to receive a Christmas grant from the Company's Charitable Fund.
Until the Reformation most bequests left to the Company were for religious purposes but, from the mid 16th Century onwards, bequests were increasingly left to support secular activities. This practice has continued to the present day.
The Company now administers three charitable trusts and a charitable fund. Kitchin's, the Saddlers' Company Charitable Fund and Kaye's and Labourne's Charities are supervised by the Charities Committee. The Apprenticing Charity is supervised by the Trade Liaison Committee.
The investments which form the endowments of the Company's charities are managed by the Investment Policy Working Group. There has been a steady increase in the capital value of these investments so that in most years there has been increase in the annual income available for charitable grants.
In 1556 Robert Kitchin, a Warden of the Company, left a property (the present Roman Wall House) in the Parish of St Olave's, Hart Street, to the Company, on condition that the income would be applied to the maintenance of the Church of St Ethelburga-the-Virgin in Bishopsgate and the poor of its parish.
In 1891 the Charity Commissioners proposed that the income be shared between the church of St Ethelburga-the-Virgin, in Bishopsgate, and the Northampton Institute (now City University) in whose foundation the Saddlers' Company had played a leading role.
This scheme was revised several times between 1982 and 2005 so that today 35% of Kitchin's income is available for discretionary awards for the training and education of persons under 25 in need of financial assistance who are or have been resident in or attended educational establishments in the City of London and after that, in Greater London.
Saddlers' Company Charitable Fund
Separate from the long-established charitable trusts is the Saddlers' Company Charitable Fund. This was formed in 1970 with its capital provided entirely by donations from the Company's corporate funds. Its modern terms of reference allow the Trustees wide discretion in the use of its income making it the major vehicle for the Company's' charitable activities including, since 1970, the Saddler's Scholarships and bursaries at Alleyn's School in Dulwich.
Within the Fund are the R M Sturdy Trust and the Mollie Priestley Fund.
The R M Sturdy Trust
The purposes and objects of the RM Sturdy Charitable Trust allow the “income to be applied to such legal charities or for such legal charitable purposes or institutions at such times and in such proportions and in such manner in all respects as the Trustees shall in their absolute discretion think fit’.
Although the charitable purposes of the charity in the Trust Deed are expressed to be very wide, and to encompass any legal charities or legal charitable purposes or institutions, PM Sturdy nonetheless wished the application of the income to be, so far as possible, restricted to the following purposes:
a) The support and maintenance of education generally, so long as the educational establishment or the educational project concerned is associated with the Church of England.
b) The support, maintenance and pursuit of musical excellence, so long again as such activities are associated with the Church of England.
c) The support of Appeals for the reconstruction, repair and renovation of places of worship for Churches within the Anglican Communion, especially the smaller Churches and ones with which members of the Saddlers Company, including the Clerk and Chaplains, may be associated.
d) General charitable purposes, with particular preference being given to those charities associated with the Church of England.
It is the Company’s policy to give effect to the wishes of PM Sturdy in so far as the application of the income from his legacy is concerned. The R M Sturdy Fund is therefore the main source of the Company’s charitable giving to the Anglican Church, cathedral based choir schools and to appeals for the preservation of the fabric of Anglican churches.
The Mollie Priestley Fund
This Fund, established with a legacy of £200,000 in 2004 from the Estate of Molly Priestley, is similar to the above RMS Fund in that it is a designated fund, within the Saddlers’ Company Charitable Fund (SCCF). In accordance with her wishes, income from the Molly Priestley Fund is directed towards helping members of the armed services who need assistance, such as for health, education or income, particularly as a result of war service. In addition the Fund provides the regular grants to the Army, Sea and Air Cadets.
Kaye's and Labourne's Charity
Since 1568 a number of other bequests have been made to the Company for the relief of poverty of members of the Company, or those working in the saddley trade, and their dependants. For administrative convenience these were grouped together as the Relief-in-Need charities, later amalgamated in the name of Young George Honnor, Master in 1765 and the largest single benefactor.
In 1627, Robert Labourne, who had been Master in 1615 and again in 1616, bequeathed property to the Company for the relief of poor saddlers, and for any other pious purposes at the discretion of the Master and Wardens. This enabled help to be given to those persons who were neither members of the Company nor of the saddlery trade.
Following a very generous gift by Mrs Grace Kaye, the widow of H Gordon Kaye (Master in 1952) and the daughter-in-law of Henry Kaye (Prime Warden in 1914), the Charity Commissioners agreed to this charity being renamed Kaye's Charity in 1991.
Kaye's Charity and Labourne's Charity were subsequently merged in 2007. The objectives of the successor Kaye's & Labourne's Charity are to relieve persons who are in need, hardship or distress, either generally or individually. In priority these would be Freemen of the Saddlers' Company, their widows and other dependants; those who are or have been employed in the trade of saddler or harness maker, their widows and other dependants who are in need, hardship or distress; and such other persons as the Trustee decides.
The less restrictive terms of Kaye's & Labourne's permit the making of grants to a broader range of beneficiaries provided always that the potential beneficiary meets the definition of "in need".
In 1698 Richard Banner, Clerk to the Company from 1671 to 1702, gave a capital sum to the Company to enable apprenticeship premiums to be paid on behalf of poor boys who would otherwise have been unable to enter the saddlery trade. With the addition of later benefactions, Banner's Charity was subsequently renamed the Apprenticing Charity. Today its income is mainly used to support the training of young saddlers.
To make an application for charitable funding.
Applications to Kitchin's Charity should be by way of a letter addressed tot he Clerk setting out the purpose for which financial assistance is sought, stating how the applicant meets the eligibility criteria and including such financial information as the Trustees may require in order properly to assess the request. The application may be made by e-mail to email@example.com
Applications to the R M Sturdy Trust should be by way of a letter addressed to the Clerk stating the purpose for which the grant is sought, how the proposal meets the eligibility criteria and include such additional and financial information as the Trustees may require (e.g. schedule of works, budget, detailed proposal for the use of any award).
Applications to the Saddlers' Company Charitable Fund and Kaye's & Labourne's. All other applications must be made using the Company's on-line application form. Direct appeals, which are ineligible for Kitchin's or R M Sturdy, will not be acknowledged or processed. Only applications filed on-line will be considered.
We actively discourage applicants from sending brochures, annual reports or other marketing, promotional or fundraising material. We particularly do not want unsolicited financial statements or reports since we can access these from the Charity Commission website in most cases and if we require further information we will request it.