Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust Ltd
Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust Ltd is a Registered Charity, Number 1092723, for the purpose of raising funds to support the SVR. It is commonly referred to on the SVR as the Charitable Trust. Its objectives are to help fund restoration and maintenance projects, to help arrest the decline of heritage engineering skills and to safeguard the long-term future and operational capability of the Railway.
It is a membership body. Governance is through up to nine trustees, including ex officio the chairman (or their nominee) from each of SVR(H) and Severn Valley Railway Company Limited. Its salaried director of development is Shelagh Paterson.
Origins and Objects
The SVR Rolling Stock Trust Company Limited was incorporated on 17 December 2001 as a private company limited by guarantee, company number 04341280. As a charitable body, its Objects were:
"To advance education for the benefit of the public by:
- the acquisition, restoration, preservation, operation maintenance and display of heritage railway locomotives, coaches, wagons and artefacts
- the provision of facilities for the education, training and certification of trainees in the practicalities, techniques and methods used in the restoration, repair and operation of historic railways"
On 29 June 2012 the Trust took on a wider remit as the SVR's general charitable trust, for which purpose it adopted its present name.
The Charitable Trust was the SVR's 'owner of last resort', "...ensuring that various locomotives, coaches and wagons that have been lovingly restored over many years by SVR volunteers can remain at the Railway, in perpetuity. As the members of the many preservation groups inevitably age and their numbers dwindle, items of rolling stock can be donated to the Charitable Trust, in order to be absolutely certain they will remain at the Railway for the long-term."
The current (2019) Articles of Association state that:
"The Charity’s Objects are specifically restricted to the following:
- to advance education for the benefit of the public by the acquisition, restoration, preservation and operation of heritage railway locomotives, carriages, wagons, station buildings, track and other associated infrastructure
- establishing buildings to house and preserve the Charity’s rolling stock collection
- the provision of educational and interpretive displays for the travelling public and
- the provision of education and skills training used in the restoration, repair and operation of historic railways to ensure their long term survival"
The Trust is a member of the Heritage Trust Network, an umbrella organisation for built heritage preservation groups and individuals formed in 2016 from the Association of Preservation Trusts (UK-APT). Members work to restore built heritage and bring historic buildings back into community use.
The Trust is a minor shareholder in SVR(H) by way of donated or bequeathed shares. In the 2012 Share Offer existing shareholders with small numbers of shares who did not want to increase their holding were invited to donate their shares to the Trust. In 2019 the market value was £24,435.
The Trust supports a variety of projects including rolling stock, infrastructure, permanent way, diesel, Bridgnorth development, education and access. Its annual report and accounts, available online from Companies House, lists the projects it has supported in the previous year and the amounts committed. Major projects include:
- The Charitable Trust funds most of the costs of the SVR’s Heritage Skills Training Academy and team of apprentices. It costs £21,000 to fund an apprentice for one year, and the Trust funded £98,457 in 2019.
- It secured an HLF grant of £95,000 and contributed over £500,000 to the overhaul of 4930 Hagley Hall
- At Falling Sands Viaduct it raised £1.25m for major repairs, completed in 2021.
- Applications for the Fight Back Fund for which the SVR received £250,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund and £906,000 from the Culture Recovery Fund.
The report and accounts and Charity Commission website record expenditure on charitable activities by year. An incomplete record follows:
|Financial year ending||Amount||Notes|
The Trust receives funds from single donations and regular giving, grant making bodies, companies and groups and gifts in Wills.
In its early years it appointed Compton Fundraising Consultants. It subsequently moved to a staff and volunteer based model.
It has sought to develop large scale fundraising, including lottery funding.
To generate support from "influential individuals" the Trust may typically invite a small group to spend a day on the SVR using an Observation Saloon to make conducted visits to workshops to met staff and volunteer craftsmen.
- In addition to gifts it seeks pledges or future bequests. Those leaving a gift in their Will to the SVR Charitable Trust are invited to join the Guardians' Club.
- Individuals donating over £100 or giving regular gifts by monthly contributions are invited to join the Patrons' Club.
- It has the support of Corporate partners
In May 2016, the Trust secured a grant of £75,000 from the Department for Transport towards a project to adapt a carriage to wheelchair use to complete the SVR’s fleet of accessible carriages, and rebuilding a second carriage to provide wheelchair-accessible dining facilities.
Events organised by the Charitable Trust include:
- April 2014: Charity Race Day at Ludlow Races raising £62,000.
- June 2015: Charity Race Day at Worcester Racecourse raising £34,500.
- June 2016: Charity Race Day at Worcester Racecourse raising £22,000
- September 2016: VIP Flying Scotsman Charity Day
- The Charitable Trust took over the organisation of the annual Peep Behind the Scenes day for 2017.
- 14 June 2017: Charity Race Day at Worcester Racecourse raising £23,000.
- 11 June 2018: Annual Charity Race Day at Worcester Racecourse raising £13,000.
Endowment Future Fund
The Trust set up an endowment Future Fund, the income from which is intended to allow sustainable investment on the Railway in years to come. It has aspirations to grow the Fund to £2 million by 2020 and eventually to £10 million. It appointed professional investment managers, Brewin Dolphin, to manage the investment. Donations to the Future Fund were matched, pound for pound, by a Heritage Lottery Fund Catalyst programme grant of up to £500,000 which was awarded in 2013 and reached on 26 May 2017, giving a total fund value of over £1 million.
Current appeals and restricted funding
The Trust's website lists its current appeals (11 as at 2021) and the annual report and accounts details funds restricted by the donor to particular items or projects (19 as at 2019).
Some of these vehicles were donated to the Trust by preservation groups, including the following.
- Hinton Manor Fund (ownership of GWR 7819 Hinton Manor)
- Kidderminster Shunter Fund (ownership of BR Class 11 12099)
- L.M.S. & B.R. Coach Fund transferred ownership of its carriages to the Charitable Trust in 2007, following which it became a department within the Trust. The department maintains a sales coach at Bridgnorth.
- Three carriages were also acquired from the LNER (SVR) Coach Fund in 2010, at which time the LNER Carriage Group similarly became a department within the Charitable Trust. In early 2016, the LNER (SVR) Coach Fund and the SVR Holdings Company transferred the ownership of their LNER carriages to the Charitable Trust, resulting in the Trust now owning all nine LNER carriages based on the SVR.
- The SVR Organisation
- L.M.S. & B.R. Coach Department - a department of the Trust
- The LNER Carriage Group - part of the Trust
- Friends of 4930 Hagley Hall - integrated into the trust to maximise income through Gift Aid
- Falling Sands Viaduct
- Commemorative Garden
- Heritage Skills Training Academy
- List of Charities associated with the SVR
- Charitable Trust Chairmen
- Companies House
- SVR News 178
- Statement from Director of Development, November 2016 on SVR Live
- Companies House
- Smith, R., 'Severn Valley Railway receives £250,000 funding boost ahead of reopening', Shropshire Star, 15 July 2020 (Retrieved 15 July 2020)
- Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (Retrieved 9 October 2020)
- 2013 Annual Report
- Charitable Trust Website 'Make a Donation' (retrieved 12 August 2019)
- Charitable Trust news page
- 2014 Annual Report
- Worcester News
- James Connell, 'Race day at Worcester supports Severn Valley Railway's Heritage Skills Training Academy', Malvern Gazette 23 June 2016 (Retrieved 5 March 2017)
- Charitable Trust Flying Scotsman page
- SVR Twitter 15 June 2017
- 'Express Points', July 2018
- SVRLive Charitable Trust page, 26 April 2017