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 Southall (Birmingham) Ltd were sold to Smith & Nephew for £7,500 and this sum was endowed to the W F Southall Trust. Then, in 1991 and 2000 two 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 2017, it was worth more than £11m.
The endowment generates a regular income, from interest and dividends. In addition, further income is generated when assets are sold. This income is passed on 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), usually in March, July and November. However, sub-groups (i.e. gatherings of two or three trustees) meet more frequently, to assess grant applications.
Questions from Applicants
We do not have application deadlines and charities can apply at any time during the year. However, at present, requests for more than £3,000 are only considered twice per year, at full trustee meetings in March and November. For consideration at these meetings, applications must be received before the end of January and September respectively.
Please bear in mind that the waiting time for requests for more than £3,000 can be as long as 10 months, depending upon when the application is received (i.e. an application received in February for more than £3,000 would not be assessed until November).
We do try to give feedback, when it is requested. However, because the Trust is administered by just one part-time Trust Secretary, 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 £3,000 within two to four months.
Applications for more than £3,000 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 process.
From 1st January 2018, we will no longer accept postal applications. However, if your cause has a good reason for not being able to apply online please do get in touch with us. In exceptional and pre-agreed circumstances we will endeavour to meet postal needs.
We give grants for capital and revenue funding. 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 charity can only apply once every 12 months and then not again until 12 months after a decision has been made.
The Trust is run by just one part-time secretary. Generally, between 10am and 4pm on Monday to Wednesday is the best time to try calling. However, there is an answer phone which is available at all times and, so long as you leave your details, we will respond to you.
Most grants are between £1,000 and £3,000. We do award a handful of larger grants each year, but these are normally reserved for Quaker-based causes. Please visit our dedicated grant category pages on this website, to see examples of recent grants the we have awarded.
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 W F Southall Trust and publicity is not something we seek. However, if your charity feels that publicising a grant from the Trust might attract other funds, then please do so.
Grant holders may re-apply a minimum of 12 months after each grant period has ended.
Please note that, if any grant reports are outstanding, we may request these before processing an application.