Hospital of God


It’s not often that we get asked to write an estates strategy for an organisation that’s been around for 750 years – especially when their goal is to ensure their sustainability for the next 750 years! But that’s what happened when the charity the Hospital of God got in touch to ask for help.

The charity has a long and proud history of working with older people, those living with dementia and their family and carers in the Hartlepool, North Tees and East Durham areas. Founded in 1273 by the Bishop of Durham, the Hospital of God was designed as a place of shelter to help poor and elderly people.

It currently employs around 100 people, and its main charitable activities are a residential home, day care and community support for sufferers of dementia, support and advice, supported living for older people, and grants to the voluntary and community sector.

The charitable work of the organisation is financially supported by an endowment fund and a portfolio of investment properties, so its important they had a functional and up to date estates strategy.

The solution
The Community Ventures team have been working with the Hospital of God for two years, and we’ve formed a really strong partnership with them. They were in the process of setting out a charity-wide strategy, so it made sense that this would be a good time to look at their estates strategy too, which hadn’t been refreshed for a long time.
The longevity of the charity means they have an unusually diverse asset base, with over 200 assets including care homes, almshouses, residential properties, and even pubs and farms! This includes properties which contribute directly to the aims of the charity, such as day centres, and properties which provide the charity with an investment income, such as rental homes.
To begin our creation of the estates strategy, we first collated all the data we needed, including information about the properties, the aims of the charity, and mapping of the locations of assets. We then had a visioning session with the charity’s board, looking at the charity’s key performance indicators (KPIs) which have an estates dimension, and creating some estates objectives which aligned with the overall KPIs. A programme of activities was then agreed, including surveys and analysis, an investment and disinvestment strategy, and forward planning for where the charity needs to go.

The result

Having adapted and developed for the needs of successive generations, the Hospital of God is still looking for new areas of growth and ways to help vulnerable and marginalised people in the 21st Century

The new estates strategy was approved by the charity board, and gives them a direction and ensures they can continue to help vulnerable people for generations to come.

"Emma from Community Ventures has brought an insight into the need to develop our approach to help to maximise our impact. Her insight, knowledge and expertise but also care, passion and commitment has helped us to move forward in several important areas, quickly and effectively. I look forward to continuing our working relationship."

Lawrence McAnelly,
Director, Hospital of God

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