The Governing Document says that “the Trustees shall apply the income of the Relief in Need Branch in relieving either generally or individually persons resident in the City of Cambridge who are in conditions of need, hardship or distress by making grants of money or providing or paying for items, services or facilities calculated to reduce the need, hardship or distress of such persons”. The Trustees may implement this by giving grants to individuals, institutions or organisations which meet these criteria.
Part of the funding for this branch comes from the gift of one of Cambridge’s most well-known sons, Thomas Hobson, a carrier and wealthy merchant from whom we now have the phrase ‘Hobson’s choice’, meaning no choice at all. Hobson rented out horses and insisted that his customers should take the next horse available in order to allow his stock to rest in turn.
Hobson set up a workhouse charity which is now part of Cambridge United Charities. It owned and ran the Spinning House in St Andrews Street on the site occupied for many years by City Council offices at Hobson House.
Since November 2004, the Trustees have passed income from the Relief in Need account to another charity, the Cambridge Central Aid Society, who meet fortnightly to give grants to individuals in urgent need of basic items and who have been referred by organisations such as Social Services, CAB and the City Council.