The Henry Smith Charity ( has been helping combat disadvantage and poverty since 1628. The Charity is one of the largest grant making charities in Britain; making grants of over £30 million in 2017.

The ongoing success of the charity is largely thanks to his foresight and understanding of the value of land. It was however, after his death that his trustees were to make the most important acquisition; the purchase for £2,000 in the 1640s of a marshy estate of mainly market gardens just outside London, in the parish of Kensington.

Henry was an astute businessman and left a detailed Will as to how his estate was to be administered. The Charity still honours this benefaction and a separate fund makes grants to relieve poverty in some 200 specific parishes named by Henry and his early trustees.

Which brings us up-to-date.
The Henry Smith Charity in Effingham benefits from an annual grant from the national charity which is available to needy people within the Effingham Parish boundary. It is part of the Effingham Parish Council activities but has been run separately by a group of four volunteer Trustees since March 2007. Our aim is to help support people in need right across the spectrum whether they are young or old, alone or with families or the less mobile members of the community. The needs may have changed since Henry Smith’s day but there are always cases where a little extra help can make a big difference. In addition to grants for specific expenditure, vouchers that can be used in the local shops are distributed at Christmas time. In 2018 we gave out total grants of £3,500 to people in the parish.

We rely on the people themselves to approach us or by word of mouth, often through the local churches, schools or through the Parish Council office. Each case is handled in strict confidence. If anyone is able to publicise the Charity through their organisation, club etc this would be very welcome. So if you know of a case of need that Henry Smith Charity might be able to help please contact the Clerk in strictest confidence.