Society for the Assistance of Ladies in Reduced Circumstances

 (Registered as a Charity in England & Wales No. 205798)

Since 1886 we have provided

Grants for women in need

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A brief history Work of this Society Miss Smallwood The team

Short Description of the Work of this Society

“We are frequently asked to give to this Society, but I should like to know more about it and what it is doing before I give,” I hear people say. Well, it started about 27 years ago by asking for shillings. It grew and grew until its income is on average about £6,000. At first it chiefly helped by selling work done by poor ladies. The work was sent on sale or return. That did not answer. The ladies spent money and perhaps did not sell their work. Then the Society took the risk and bought it in. Then that did not answer for the Society lost through depreciation. This is now greatly obviated through the sale of guild garments, which have been given to the Society. Orders are taken for Church work, and almost every kind of fancy or plain needlework, painting or carving. Handkerchief embroidery is a great trade with us; hundreds of handkerchiefs pass through our hands during the year, and many people are employed to do the work. The Society is now chiefly a Benevolent Society. It gives monthly money to upward of 200 ladies, ranging from 10/- to £5 a month. People choose a lady and send £3, £6 or £12, to be given to her monthly. If several people give to one lady they make her in receipt of a nice little sum each month. Many of the ladies have small incomes - £10 or £20 – and many are penniless and kept from the workhouse through the administrations of the Society. Emergency gifts are given where we can afford them, to pay doctors’ or chemists’ bills, or to tide people over some anxious time, perhaps to save them from being turned out of their homes, to pay rent or taxes. In winter coal money is sent, and in summer £2 or £3 is given to ladies to go on holiday, or if they are old and feeble drives; anything to take them out of their sordid surroundings. Friends are found for the ladies to write to them and send them presents in kind (money and clothes go through the Society). Books, papers, groceries, game, poultry, eggs, butter, etc. are all acceptable, and the ladies feel they are remembered. Library subscriptions are much valued. Clothes are the greatest boon; old or new, all kinds of clothes can be turned to account by those who cannot afford to buy for themselves. Sheets, blankets, bed-furniture, and curtains are useful.


The Auditor comes every three months, and vouchers and receipts must be kept for him. We employ many poor ladies to direct envelopes and fill them, for 70,000 go out in Lent, and in fact, all the year round we are sending out appeals either for the General or Special Funds. I think the secret of the success of this work, which has been greatly blessed, is the “personal” touch – Ladies becoming “friends” to the poor ladies. It is not like a charity, “cold as charity”. What a misnomer? when charity is surely the heart of God, for God is Love. Faith, Hope, Charity! The greatest of these is Charity: the Ladies learn Faith, become more Hopeful, and are helped by that true Charity that never faileth. Now, dear friends, do you understand the working of the Society better?


                                                                                               EDITH SMALLWOOD, Hon. Sec.

 [Extract from Annual Report, 1913]