A Ray of Hope

Our story began 850 years ago, in 1174, when Bishop Fitzjocelyn founded St John’s Foundation to offer sanctuary to those facing poverty and enduring chronic conditions. Fast forward eight and a half centuries to the present day, and the deep-rooted inequalities in our community persist. Despite Bath’s picturesque facade, beneath the surface that captivates countless tourists, lies poverty and hardship. Shockingly, 43% of residents struggle to pay fuel bills, and 21,000 individuals worry about running out of food before they can afford more. Despite these challenges, St John’s remains resolute our mission is to provide a ray of hope to those in need within our community.

Educational, social and nutrition support for children

In Bath and North East Somerset, 20% of children aged between 0-12 years old are living in relative poverty. Forming the basis of the work we do through our Best Start in Life initiative (formally known as the Foundation Fund), St John’s mission is to ensure all children can lead happy, healthy, and educated lives. Our local authority has the 5th worst Key Stage 2 attainment gap in England, and we are determined to close this gap, ensuring children leave primary school with an education that will support them throughout their adult lives.

To narrow the Key Stage 2 attainment gap, we work with schools and selected partners to run a series of child development initiatives. These initiatives target key areas of child development; with language development and emotional support for nursery settings, followed by additional support in reading, writing, mathematics, and oral communication skills at primary school level. To help new parents and children with emotional and behavioural challenges, we fund a series of professional services to remove communication barriers and to foster positive relationships.

Good nutrition not only provides the energy for children to play and have fun, but also for good brain development and to learn. Eating well is essential for children and has a significant impact on their behaviour and academic performance. Alongside the work we do with national organisations to address the need for emergency food provisions, we also run a Nutritious Food Programme, providing over 400 local children with free hot lunches every day.

Helping older people live fulfilled and independent lives

At the heart of St John’s lies our almshouses. Originally founded as an almshouse charity, our dedication remains steadfast in providing sheltered accommodation to older adults in need. Our focus is on ensuring that they can lead fulfilling, healthy, and independent lives within our community.

With 20% of those aged over 65 still living in relative poverty and a growing number of pension age renters, inequalities among older adults are becoming more pronounced. Loneliness and social isolation are prevalent issues in our region, underscoring the urgent need for attention and support in addressing these challenges.

Our almshouses offer a sense of belonging and safety, friendships, wellbeing, and purpose.  Residents are given bespoke guidance and information in areas such as accommodation and benefits, as well as pastoral support. We offer a diverse and stimulating activities programme for residents and older adults in our community. This aims to provide pleasure and enjoyment, plus an opportunity to look after physical and emotional wellbeing.

As we turn 850, we are taking the opportunity to not only celebrate our history, but to commit to continue to serve those in most need so that we may help change their lives, for good.

Find out more about the work we do

If you would like to learn more about the work we are doing in honour of our 850th anniversary and the history of St John’s Foundation, you can find more information here. If you are a business and would like details on our partnership opportunities and fundraising projects, please contact our team.