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 85 years. It is overseen by Trustees, and by a Committee comprising senior members, former members, and both current graduates and undergraduates.
Magdalen College Trust: a CIO
The Trust is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. It is successor to the Magdalen College Mission, founded in 1884 and working first in Stepney, and from 1908 in Somers Town (Euston), but which 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 CIO Constitution echoes the original terms of 1948, and defines the objects of the Trust as: “advancing education for the public benefit by making grants to support charitable activities in which…Members are involved”; and “advancing education and relieving financial hardship for the public benefit by making grants to support young people, underprivileged people and the people of the Parish of St Mary, Somers Town, London”.
These days we only occasionally make grants to social or educational work in London, though we always have in mind the historical focus of our activities and do make donations on that basis to London-based causes.
- Paul Billingham (Chairman of the Executive Committee)
- Rob Gilbert (Secretary and Treasurer)
We currently meet three times a year, in each of Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity terms, to make awards. Any Magdalen member is welcome both to bid for funding and to attend the meetings, which are advertised by email a week or two in advance.
The list below of organisations that we have recently donated to gives an idea of range of causes that we support:
- The Archway Foundation
- Bicester Foodbank
- Branch Up
- Centre for Theology and Community Jellicoe Appeal
- East Oxford Primary School residential trip
- FELLOW English Lessons
- Hackney Quest
- The Heart of England Community Boxing Club
- Kite (Nairobi)
- The Leys Community Development Initiative
- Little Angels Service Dogs
- Lytham St Annes Classical Association
- Muze Trust
- My Life My Choice
- Oxford Churches Debt Centre
- Oxford Poverty Action Trust
- The Parasol Project
- Philip David Gray Memorial Trust
- Safe Bangle
- Save the Children initiative operating in Kununurra, Australia
- Scallywags Nursery, East London
- Science Innovation Union
Donations & Bids for Awards
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 this will long continue. Any College member can learn more about the Trust, and influence its policy making, by attending the Annual General Meeting. This is held in May or early June each year.
Any College member who is involved in some charitable project is welcome to contact the Trust, which may be able to help with funds. Please write to the Trust Secretary, Rob 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.