Below are some questions that we are frequently asked. Please click on the question to reveal the answer.
Questions about the Trust
In 1937, 30,000 shares in pharmaceutical company Southall (Birmingham) Ltd were sold to for £7,500. This sum was then endowed to the W F Southall Trust. Years later, in 1991 and 2000 further sums were endowed to the Trust, following amalgamations with other Southall family charitable trusts (please visit for our history page more information). Over the years this endowment has been ethically invested and, in 2019, it was worth around £12m.
The endowment generates a regular income, from interest and dividends. In addition, further income is generated when assets are sold. This income is then given to registered charities in the form of grants.
To note, the W F Southall Trust is committed to investing its endowment ethically. For example, due to the Quaker stance on non-violence, every effort is made to ensure that no investment is are held in a companies involved with arms dealing.
The amount we give away is entirely dependent upon the performance of our investments. In recent years our giving has grown to around £300,000 per year. Between 2010 and 2017, we granted almost £2m to charities.
The trustees govern the Trust, in accordance with the requirements of the Charity Commission of England & Wales. All give their time to the Trust voluntarily and all are descendants of Wilfred Southall. You can read more about them and how they are related in the trustee section of this website.
The trustees meet every four months (three times per year). However, most grant applications are assessed by sub-groups of trustees, usually every two to three months.
Questions from Applicants
Most of our grants are between £1,000 and £5,000 per year and our average grant is around £3,000.
Organisations that we have supported before may apply for more than £5,000 per year. However, please bear in mind that the processing time for these requests can be signifiantly longer, because they must first be assessed by a sub-group of trustees and then - if the sub-group wishes to support the request for more than £5,000 - the application must be considered at a full trustee meeting (which are held roughly every four months).
Please visit our dedicated grant category pages on this website to see examples of recent grants the we have awarded.
We do not have application deadlines and charities can apply at any time during the year.
Historically grant applications were only considered at the trustees' March and November meetings, but this is no longer the case.
We do try to give feedback on unsuccessful applications, because we appreciate that feedback can be of some value to applicants. However, we do not respond to applicants who have ignored our application guidelines. Also, because the Trust has just one part-time employee, we are limited in terms of how much feedback we can offer.
Applicants should receive a receipt of an online application almost immediately (please get in touch if you do not receive a receipt, after checking your junk mail first!).
We aim to respond to applications for up to £5,000 within four months.
Applications for more than £5,000 usually take longer to process (sometimes up to 10 months) because, at present, these require discussion at full trustee meetings, which are held in March and November.
We aim to respond to every applicant, so long as they have followed our application guidelines.
Yes. We give grants for capital costs as well as grants for core/revenue/running costs. However, generally speaking, we do not fund on-going running costs where there seems to be no demonstration of the project or organisation's sustainability.
No. Each organisation can only apply to us once every 12 months and then not again until at least 12 months after a decision has been communicated to the organisation.
The Trust is run by just one part-time employee. Generally, between 10am and 4pm on weekdays is the best time to try calling. However, the Trust has an answer phone which is available at all times and, so long as you leave your details, we will respond to you.
We stopped receiving postal applications in January 2018 in a bid to save charities from unnecessary printing, postal and travel costs. However, if you have a good reason for not being able to apply to us online then please do get in touch. In exceptional and pre-agreed circumstances we will endeavour to meet postal needs.
Questions from Grant Holders
Grant holders are asked to provide a report following the end of the grant period. Ideally, we would like to receive reports within three months of the grant period ending.
Reports are not supposed to be an onerous task - we would just like to know how the grant was actually spent and what impact it had. Stories and photos are always good.
We do not chase for reports and they are not compulsory; however, it should be noted that if a charity does not submit a grant report it will affect our decision to award another grant, should one be requested.
There is no requirement to publicise a grant from the Southall Trust and publicity is not something we seek. However, if your charity feels that publicising a grant from the Trust might be beneficial to your cause, then please do so.
Grant holders must allow at least 12 months to pass from the date on which our last grant was awarded before applying to us again.
Please note that, if any grant reports are outstanding, we will not usually consider a new application until that report is received.