Good bye, Parochial Charities

Thursday May 11, 2023

Hello, Great Shelford Village Charity

Still going strong after 133 years, but under a new name.

When first registered with the Charity Commission in 1890, the Parochial Charities owned just a handful of cottages and smallholdings, and one of its key activities was the distribution of coal to villagers who would otherwise freeze in winter. These days, while we no longer distribute coal, the charity has a larger scale of operation, providing homes for around 100 villagers and, with the completion of the new £4.4M almshouse development, it also has substantial financial commitments.

Being a charitable trust, the Parochial Charities had no legal personality, which meant that all contracts, legal actions (sue and be sued, etc) and other liabilities were underwritten personally by the trustees. Having taken legal advice – and with the approval of the Charity Commission – we have restructured the charity under a new name, The Great Shelford Village Charity, and appointed GSVC Trustee Ltd as its sole corporate trustee. The former trustees become unpaid directors of this not-for-profit charitable company.

Chair of the charity, Sarah Rann said, “We are not alone in doing this; other almshouse charities, such as those in Girton and Saffron Walden, have adopted similar structures. The Parochial Charities and its forerunners have assisted local people in need down the centuries and, rest assured, the directors of The Great Shelford Village Charity remain fully committed to continuing this work long into the future.”

The Charity Commission has also approved extending the reach of the charity so that assistance can be provided to a wider pool of beneficiaries. The 1890 charter did not allow assistance to be provided to anyone living outside Great Shelford, no matter how strong otherwise their connection to the village might be. Under our new constitution, we can now assist people who live in the village or the surrounding area, or who otherwise have a strong connection to the village. This allows us to help, for example, individuals who have been brought up within the village, who have had to move away because of the expense of local accommodation, and who now wish or need to return.

With the announcement of the new structure we are also launching our new website at

GSVC Trustee Ltd – a company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales, company number 14653486, whose registered office is at 18 High Street, Great Shelford, Cambridge CB22 5EH – is the sole corporate trustee of The Great Shelford Village Charity.   Privacy Policy