This small home-grown organisation aims to encourage current College Members in their support of charitable causes – with an emphasis on deprivation and youth. It was founded by concerned undergraduates and former members of the College and has been supported by Magdalen students, past and present, for more than 80 years. It is overseen by Trustees, and by a Committee comprising senior members, former members, and both current graduates and undergraduates.

Magdalen College Trust: conversion to CIO

The Trust in its present form is the successor to the Magdalen College Mission which was founded in 1884, working first in Stepney, and from 1908 in Somers Town (Euston), and ceased activities in 1940. The best-known Missioner was Fr Basil Jellicoe, in the 1920s. A Trust had been set up in 1920 to fund the work of the Mission, and in 1948, after several years of discussion about whether it was feasible to revive the Mission, a new constitution was adopted, and the name changed to ‘The Magdalen College Trust’. The objects of the Trust were ‘to provide, promote, assist and encourage on Christian principles, social, education and benevolent work and the means of recreation for the people of St Mary’s, Somers Town or elsewhere as the occasion may arise’. A clubhouse in Somers Town continued to operate until the 1960s, with a resident Warden, and opportunity for visits by members of College. Provision for young people in the area was increasingly taken over by local authorities, and by 1966 the Oxford Committee of the Trust was beginning to look nearer home for worthwhile projects to support. The clubhouse was demolished, and although the Trust continued to support similar ventures in London, notably Oxford House, Bethnal Green, it turned increasingly to social and educational projects in the Oxford area, and others that had the active participation of College members, increasingly in developing countries.

The current Constitution, adopted in 1987, defines the objects of the Trust in very much the same terms as that of 1948: ‘to provide, promote, assist and encourage, on Christian principles and by charitable means (but not otherwise), social welfare, educational work and the means of recreation for the people of the Parish of St Mary, Somers Town, London, or elsewhere as the occasion may arise’. These days it is rare for grants to be given to social or educational work in London (although grants were made to the new Jellicoe Society, working in East London and Somers Town, in 2007 and 2008, and to the Oxford-Kilburn Club in 2003 and 2007), and the Trust has for many years spoken in more general terms of ‘an emphasis on deprivation and youth’, while also giving notice that ‘a strong preference is given to projects in which current students participate’. It is clearly time to redefine the objects of the Trust to bring them into line with best current practice, without losing sight of the original purposes for which it was formed.

At the same time, the changes in charity law make it necessary to overhaul the constitution of the trust more thoroughly. This gives us the opportunity to take advantage of a new simplified legal form for a charity, namely a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation). The Trustees have approved the plans, the passing of the law setting up CIOs is imminent, and we are now recommending to all members of the Trust (essentially all members of College) that we proceed to set up the new CIO and wind up the Trust in its old form.

Before we do that, we need to amend the existing Constitution to allow dissolution of the Trust (there is no current provision for that). A vote will be taken at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Trust on 29 October 2012, convened for that purpose.

The new name will be ‘The Magdalen College Trust CIO’. It is important to retain the name of the College and preserve the link with the old Trust, while leaving it open for other bodies to adopt a name of the form ‘The Magdalen College … CIO’.

The objects of the Magdalen College Trust CIO will be as follows:

To advance education and to advance citizenship and community development by encouraging, facilitating and providing opportunities for the full participation in charitable activities, by [members of College];

To pursue activities, whether within or outside the United Kingdom, in which [members of College] are involved; and for the particular benefit of young or underprivileged people; and for the benefit of the people of Oxford; and for the benefit of the people of the Parish of St Mary, Somers Town, London.

  • J.S.T. Garfitt (Chairman of the Executive Committee)
  • R. Gilbert (Secretary)

Magdalen College Trust Report for 2011-12

The Trust has continued to be successful in attracting members to the annual Executive Committee meeting at which grant applications are put forward and discussed. This indicates not only a healthy level of support for charitable work generally and a high degree of willingness to participate as a volunteer, but an active engagement in the process of discussion and decision-making, in line with the Trust’s commitment to education in charitable activity.

Good progress has been made towards converting the Trust into a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation), which is a new simplified legal form for a charity. The Chairman and Secretary, together with the other Trustees, will be recommending the change to members during the coming year.

Grants were made during the year to the following organisations:

  • Friends of Vellore
  • Seghwei Amar
  • HCPT Group 124
  • Oxford Young Carers
  • TravelAid Niger
  • ACT!
  • TRAX
  • Viva Network
  • Serian UK via TravelAid
  • Reading Plus
  • Jacari
  • Taabar UK
  • SeeSaw
  • Support for a school in Pakistan
  • Magdalen Young Carers
  • TravelAid Kenya
  • Oxford Pro Bono Publico
  • SKIP Oxford
  • TravelAid China
  • TravelAid El Salvador
  • Sexpression
  • TravelAid Nepal
  • O’Hanlon House
  • The Oxford Kenya Partnership
  • Betel of Britain

Students and Fellows make a small annual subscription to the Trust unless they decide to opt out. The great majority of Magdalen people have contributed to this worthwhile enterprise in the past, and we hope that you will follow them by not opting out. Any College member can learn more about the Trust, and influence its policy making, by attending the Annual General Meeting. This is usually held on a Saturday morning in early May and will be advertised a week or two in advance.

Any College member who is actively involved in some charitable project is welcome to contact the Trust, which may be able to help with funds. Please write to the Chairman of the Executive Committee, Dr J.S.T. Garfitt, or the Trust Secretary, Dr Robert Gilbert. Should you wish to make a donation to the Trust, of any size, you can do this by filling in the Bankers Order and Gift Aid Form (PDF). It will be greatly appreciated, and will be well used.