History

Charity Link was established in 1876 by local business people and caring individuals to assist those in Leicester experiencing poverty, hardship and crisis.

In 1975 the charity expanded its work to include the areas of Leicestershire and Rutland. More recently, in 2012, we expanded our work to support people in Northamptonshire.

Though times have changed Charity Link’s services are as vital today as they were over 140 years ago.

Charity Link makes a tangible impact by providing essential items that can make a huge difference to an individual or family, whether this is a bed to sleep in, clothing, a cooker to prepare a hot meal or for those with a disability, mobility equipment and visual aids which are not available on the NHS.

Over its long history, Charity Link has developed the expertise to seek out and obtain funds from charitable trusts and benevolent funds available to help those in need. This method of working is highly effective and enables us to ‘untap’ funds and turn every £10 donation into £50 to directly help local people who desperately need support.

In the beginning
On 29th May 1876 the first meeting of the Leicester Charity Organisation Society (as Charity Link was first known) was held at the County Rooms (now the City Rooms) in Leicester City Centre, chaired by the Mayor, Alderman Barfoot. The ‘Charity Organisation Society’ (COS) movement began in London in 1869, when migration of populations to rapidly developing towns had resulted in poor living conditions, and the new harsher Poor Laws had exacerbated poverty. COS’s went on to be located around the country with their concept being ‘to give the poor just sufficient – either financially or in kind – to assist them, but not to discourage them from helping themselves’. Charity Link is now the only COS still in operation in the UK. Over the past 140 years our pioneering services have continued to respond to the changing needs of the local population.

Did you know?
After being called Leicester Charity Organisation Society, the Leicester Charity Link name was adopted in the 2000s. Since our expansion into Northamptonshire in 2012 we are now simply known as Charity Link!