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History of the Trust

Charity: universal love: the disposition to think favourably of others and do them good: alms giving. Non-profit-making foundation, institution, or cause, devoted to caring for those in need of help etc...

The Company is proud of its charitable tradition, which is a major element of today's activities. The Company's charitable pedigree is very long, dating back to mediaeval times, when support was given to families of members of the trade who had become impoverished. This tradition survived for a long time; as recently as 1919 when the Court approved a grant to Mrs Brodie Smith, the daughter of a past Master, who had fallen on hard times as a result of illness. Today, the Company has an Almoner who, among his other duties, maintains contact with Company members and their families in the event of sickness or bereavement.

On his death in 1629 James Wood, a past Master, became the Company's most significant benefactor. The Court minutes have frequent references to disbursements made under the terms of his Will, including Exhibitions to Oxford and Cambridge Universities until it was necessary to wind up the scheme in the 1980s.

The most important original source of the Company's charitable funds was the revenue and eventual sale proceeds of James Wood's Manor at Isley Walton in Leicestershire. Over the years the Company donated funds to the poor of Isley Walton and provided support to the village schoolteacher until 1889, when the estate was sold. Donations were also made to the village church and its organ. This activity continued into the 1990s when a further donation was made to the organ fund.

Financial support was given to other educational activities associated with the City. In 1881 a donation of 100gns was made to the "City & Guilds" of London Institute for the advancement of technical education. This sum was topped up from time to time. Today, senior members of the Company are involved in the governance of Central Foundation Girls' School in Bow and are also trustees of the Central Foundation Schools of London. Donations are also made from time to time to the City of London Girls' School and other educational projects.

1879 saw the beginning of the Company disbursing funds to hospitals in London, with a donation to the London and Charing Cross Hospital. Over the years, further donations were made to the London Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Miss Wardell's Convalescent Home for Scarlet Fever Patients, Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital, the Farringdon General Dispensary, the East London Hospital for Children, Shadwell, St Thomas's Hospital, and the Home for Confirmed Invalids.

The Company's support for the Lord Mayor's appeals started in 1877 when funds were given to alleviate a famine in India, followed by donations to support the London Agricultural Exhibition and the fund for the relief of distress in the West Indian Islands caused by a hurricane. In 1906, the Company made a donation to the Treloar Fund for Christmas Hampers that were provided for "crippled children". Sir William Treloar became Lord Mayor of London in 1906. The Company continues the tradition with regular donations to Treloar's school and college in Hampshire, particularly in providing funds for special archery equipment; archery being a particularly "disabled-friendly" sport.

In 1882 the Company began its support for the armed forces with a donation of 25 guineas voted to support rifle shooting in the Army. This support continued until the Great War and eventually a silver cup was presented. The Company supports the armed forces today through its affiliations with HMS Northumberland and the Mercian Regiment. Support is given to the Army Benevolent Fund, the Royal British Legion, military charities focusing on post-traumatic stress and resettlement and elsewhere as the need arises.

During the First World War the Company made donations to a wide range of war-related charities. Examples will illustrate this breadth: The Blinded Soldiers and Sailors Fund, the Indian Soldiers Fund, the Waterloo Station Buffet for Soldiers, Employment of Ex Soldiers Fund, and the Endell Street Military Hospital. Donations were also made to the Church Army. The Company has continued to support those involved in armed conflict. The Almoner writes to the next of kin of those serving with the Company's affiliated units who die on operations.

Our Charitable Activities Today

Applications for support are considered first by the Charity committee. Those that are deemed suitable are forwarded to the Trustees, who are the Master, Upper Warden and Renter Warden at any one time. Their decision is final.

The Bowyers’ Charitable Trust, registered number 270702 is governed by the Deed of Trust dated the 4th April 1974 which states the objects of the fund:

The trustees shall hold the said yearly sums upon trust and shall apply and distribute the same solely for such charitable purposes as the company from time to time direct.

A further Trust Deed was executed on the 16th June 1986, as it was thought expedient to make provision for the continued regulation of the trust for the charitable purposes declared in the original deed. The charitable objects declared in the 1974 Trust Deed were also confirmed.

The records of the charitable fund prior to 1992 are limited. After various meetings in 1994 between the trustees and the then Charity Committee chairman, the following "Mission Statement" for the Bowyers' Charitable Trust General Fund was agreed for guidance regarding potential beneficiaries, and was submitted to the Court on 21st April 1994.

To raise income from members of the Livery by way of donations, legacies, deeds of covenant and gifts for the purpose of making donations and gifts to support archery related charities: In particular disabled archers; Lord Mayor and other major City appeals; other areas of need in the community, in particular youth and the elderly.

This guidance was confirmed at the Court Meeting on the 27th November 2007.

In 1999 the Court decided to establish the Bowyers Charitable Trust Capital Fund for which an alternative mission statement was agreed at the Court Meeting on the 24th January 2008:

To provide for the accumulation of a fund, the income from which will be used for a single charitable purpose closely identified with the Company's history, trade and associations. The beneficiary will be selected annually, or, if considered appropriate by the Trustees, for a defined period of no less than one year.

Although the capital value of this fund is relatively modest, the intention is that the fund grows until it generates a significant amount of income to support the declared purpose as given above. Income is derived from individual donations, transfers of a proportion of the surplus from Company General Funds and fund-raising events. The income from this fund will be spent on a single charitable purpose, to be considered no more regularly than on an annual basis, and which closely identifies with the Company's history, trade and associations with which the Bowyers' Company name can be associated.

In addition to the Company giving donations to a range of beneficiaries, Company members contribute their time to charitable causes. As previously noted, in particular, senior members of the Company are involved in the governance of the Central Foundation Girls' School in Bow. Drawing on their significant professional expertise they provide substantial advice on the school estate, finances and most recently, catering.

Requests for grants from the Charitable Fund are welcome from any source in line with the objects of the Charitable Fund.

John Hayton
Chairman

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Further information about our Charitable Trust can be found in our brochure. Download a copy