Eligibility for Grants in Aid funding:

Grants in aid are limited to GIRLS resident in the counties of Devon and Cornwall:
  • Primarily Orphans – that is those who have lost either or both parents;
  • Any other girl in need.
Grants are made towards the cost of care, maintenance or other needs; particularly in the case of those entering upon a trade, occupation or profession, by providing tools, books, special fees, travelling expenses or other items as may help them earn their own living or advance them in their chosen livelihood.


The Devon and Cornwall Aid for Girls Trust

The Trust has its origins in the Devon and Cornwall Female Orphanage which was based in the City of Plymouth.  The Orphanage was founded by Deeds dated 19th May 1844.  The aim was to train, for domestic service, orphan girls and, certainly in its early years, any girls were employed by the County families.

One of the early Matrons of the Orphanage, a Miss Durston, herself a former trainee, did much to greatly humanise the Home. She promoted the Institution by involving many leading citizens in its hard work.  A notable example being Lady Astor.

The girls entered the Orphanage at the age of seven and at first were taught by private tuition, later they attended the St. Andrew School in Plymouth.  The older girls were trained in household duties.

In 1930, numbers at the Orphanage began to fall, partly due to the decline in demand for domestic servants but also because more provision was being made for the poor.  During the Second World War (1939-1945), the staff and girls were evacuated to Totnes in Devon.  In 1941, the Orphanage building in Lockyer Street was completely destroyed by enemy action.  The institution ceased to exist in 1945.

In 1899, the Royal Commission on Secondary Education decided that Educational Charities would become the responsibility of the newly formed Board of Education and so, after the destruction of the Orphanage building, a new scheme was made with Charity Commission dated 25th June 1948.

The Board of Education was, at this time, keen to aid the newly established Dame Hannah Rogers School at Ivybridge near Plymouth and an allowance of £500.00 per annum from the income of the Scheme was paid to the School between 1948 and 1954.  The remainder of the income from the Trust was applied by the Trustees for ‘the benefit of pupils resident in the Counties of Devon and Cornwall to assist their educational training’.

At this juncture, the Charity Commissioners intervened and pointed out that, as the original Orphanage had never been an Educational Charity, it should never have been placed under the jurisdiction of the Board (now Ministry) of Education. Legal advice was consulted and it was made clear that the doctrine of cy-press (as near as possible to the original intention) had to be followed.  On the 25th March 1958, the Charity Commission produced a new Scheme.  This Scheme still governs the Trust.

The Trustees invite applications from those in need and use their own judgement on an individual basis.

Briefly, the provision of the Scheme are:

  1. The annual income of the Trust us to be applied in granting aid for the benefit of orphans, or any other girl in need, who are resident in the counties of Devon and Cornwall.
  2. Grants are made towards the cost of care, maintenance or other needs, particularly in the case of those entering Educational or Training Establishments, for the provision of tools, books. Fees, travelling expenses or other items as will fit them for advancement.
The Scheme established that there should be 9 Trustees from the counties of Devon and Cornwall.

Trustees hold at least two meetings a year.  There is a quorum when 4 Trustees are present.  The Chairman and Vice Chairman are elected on the first meeting of the year.  Both are eligible for re-election.

Funding and Grants:  the Accounting year of the Trust is from April 1st to March 31st.  The primary source of income is received from dividends on the Share Unit Holdings and interest on the Deposit Account.  Both accounts are with the Charity Commission Official Investment Fund. 

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We look forward to your application