This year (2022) marks 270 years since the foundation of Belfast Charitable Society. Throughout the centuries, the Society has been at the heart of philanthropy, working collaboratively with others since its earliest years.
The Charitable Society initially set in motion the creation of a Poor House and Infirmary for the town to provide a safety net to those in distress and to relieve the pressures of paying for medical care. After a number of fundraising campaigns, the Poor House formally opened its doors in 1774. Throughout the years thousands of people, from young and old, to local citizens and passing sailors all sought refuge within its walls. Many notable figures in the history of Belfast gave their services including the abolitionist, philanthropist and social reformer, Mary Ann McCracken and her cousins, the Joy family, amongst many others.
In 1882, the last children left the Poor House, and the building became known as the Belfast Charitable Institution, an early care home for the elderly. Today, Clifton House operates as the social enterprise of Belfast Charitable Society, with the building continuing to house a residential home and sheltered accommodation apartments.
Since 1752 Belfast Charitable Society has sought to address disadvantage in the various forms it can take. Historically, it oversaw the introduction of a large-scale public water supply, the first free prescription service and supported other charities including the Lying-In (Maternity) Hospital to highlight just a few examples. Across Philanthropy Fortnight, we will be sharing the Belfast Charitable Society’s ongoing work today. From our projects working with young people, to tackling isolation in the older population, the Charitable Society can continue to support those most in need thanks to your continued support.
So, keep an eyed peeled on our social media over the coming two weeks as we highlight some of our recent, and ongoing, projects.