St John’s Foundation in Bath is one of the UK’s oldest charities, founded in 1174 by the fourth Bishop of Bath. And, nine centuries later, we remain true to our original purpose of supporting the local community.
Originally known as St John’s Hospital, the charity was established to provide shelter and comfort in old age to those in need. Not a hospital in the medical sense, the name was derived from the word ‘hospitable’ and provided almshouse accommodation for the impoverished elderly.
Our offices and many of our almshouse apartments remain on the original site of the medieval hospital. Additionally, we have a wider property and investment portfolio, the result of bequests and legacies from clergy, nobility and philanthropists over the centuries. The revenue generated from our property portfolio, is what makes all our other work possible.
In addition to our almshouse provision, we also provide support to the younger generation, which has to contend with its own set of issues, such as debt, unemployment and housing concerns. St John’s established its Funding Award Programme in 2005 and distributes circa £2m a year to local charities and organisations who apply to us on behalf of individuals who have reached a crisis point in their lives.
In 2017, we changed our name to St John’s Foundation to better reflect the work that we do.