Ref NoMS 1579/1/6
TitleSouthfield Trust
Date1960 - 1994
AccessStatusPartially closed (Content)
AdminHistoryThe Southfield Trust, or the Southfield Experiment as it was originally titled, was created as the result of a series of meetings between Barrow and Geraldine S. Cadbury Trustees and Frank Foster of the Borstal After-Care Association during 1959/1960. The organisation was formally established by deed of trust on 15 November 1960. The initial aim of the Southfield Trust was to establish a hostel in north London for ex-Borstal boys. This hostel would provide transitional accommodation and support for young men re-entering society in the hope of reducing the likelihood of repeat offending. The Trust derived its name from the building selected for the hostel.

The administration of the new Southfield Trust was placed in the hands of the younger generation of Cadbury Trustees, Paul and Rachel's children Catherine Hickinbotham, Edward Cadbury, Charles Cadbury and Philippa Southall. These appointments were made in part to provide the new trustees with practical financial and project management experience and in part due to their interest in youth offending. Their professional roles were well-tailored to the project with Catherine, Charles and Philippa all serving as magistrates and ad Edward governor of an approved school. Philippa Southall served as the Trust's chairman. Frank Foster OBE, an outspoken advocate of penal reform, acted as consultant to the Trust. While Paul Cadbury and the other experienced trustees monitored the progress of the Southfield Experiment, they refrained from direct involvement, limiting their contribution to approving funds for the project. Undue intervention was considered detrimental to the learning experience of the Southfield Trustees.

The Southfield Trust had no endowment and was reliant on the moneyed Cadbury Trusts for financial support. The purchase and refurbishment of the hostel premises at nos. 6 and 8 Alexandra Grove, North Finchley, was funded by the Barrow and Geraldine S. Cadbury Trust and administered by Southfield Trustees acting as hostel managers. Unlike the grant making activities of the Cadbury Trusts, involvement in the operational work of the Southfield Hostel proved a very hands-on affair for Trustees.

In addition to running the hostel, Southfield Trustees were also keenly interested in using the project as a basis for research to discover how ex-Borstal boys and young men could live as normal members of society without recourse to crime or delinquency. The results of Southfield research were to be made freely available for public benefit. Additionally, regular progress reports were compiled and sent to the Home Office. Regrettably the research output of the project was reduced due to the poor performance of one of the investigators.

The Southfield Trust had not intended to manage the London hostel indefinitely. If the scheme was successful, it was hoped that the government would be interested in taking over the project, and hopefully, applying its lessons on a larger scale. In 1962 the Prison Department of the Home Office approached the Southfield Trust with a pilot proposal to establish a girl's hostel along similar lines to the Southfield Experiment. This new four-year project was launched in 1964 by the Mellanby Trust but was considered a failure. However the ex-Borstal boys project proved its worth with reduced levels of re-offending recorded among Southfield residents. In 1972 discussions commenced between the Southfield Trust and the Home Office relating to the transfer of the Southfield hostel to the Middlesex Probation and Aftercare Service. By 1973 the terms of transfer had been agreed with the legal handover occurring on 23 November of that year. The Charity Commission had raised an objection to the sale claiming that the Southfield Trust was undervaluing the property. Trustees refused to raise the price and the Commission subsequently withdrew its impediment.

The success of the Southfield Experiment did not bring an end to the Southfield Trust. In addition to serving on the hostel's management committee Southfield Trustees provided advice and recommendations on Cadbury Trusts' penal affairs grant applications, acting as a de facto penal affairs sub-committee. This advisory role became the prime function of the Southfield Trust until its dissolution in 1994.

The proceeds from the sale of the Southfield Hostel were allocated to penal affairs projects and paid for directly by the Southfield Trust. When these resources were exhausted the Barrow and Geraldine S. Cadbury Trust and the Fund stepped in to provide funds as part of their penal affairs remit. Southfield Trustees operated with a considerable degree of autonomy in their area of expertise. It would be extremely unusual for Barrow and Geraldine S. Cadbury Trustees or Fund Directors to go against the advice of Southfield Trustees on penal affairs matters.

Formal meetings of the Southfield Trust were held approximately four times per year from 1973 onwards though it is likely that meetings were held as early as 1960. Autumn meeting dates tended to double for the regular business meeting and annual meeting. Trust meetings were occasionally held on an impromptu basis to address urgent matters. These meetings were often attended by Cadbury Trusts' administrators Anthony Wilson or Eric Adams. Trust accounts were compiled by Payne, Stone, Fraser and Co., Chartered Accountants.

In 1974 Trustees noted with sadness a fire at the Southfield Trust that claimed the life of one resident and destroyed half of the building. By this time the Southfield Trust was no longer involved in the administration of the hostel and was busy compiling the Southfield papers to be released as a series of publications under the supervision of Frank Foster. The last of these was printed in 1978.

During 1979 Trustees met to discuss future Southfield policy. The meeting was attended by recently appointed Trustees Anna Southall and Roger Hickinbotham. It was agreed that the Trust could continue to carry out a useful function within the Cadbury Trusts by 1) providing the other trusts with opportunity to own land (outside of the remit of the Worgan Trust), 2) providing an alternate channel for grant making using the Southfield Trust name, 3) retaining a separate bank account to meet expenses incurred on its own initiative, and 4) providing a forum within the larger Cadbury Trusts for the discussion of policy and applications relating to penal affairs. It was this fourth function, already in practice, that was retained. At the same time a distinction was drawn between penal affairs applications referred to the Southfield Trust by the other trusts and the Fund and matters of specific interest to Southfield Trustees.

The Southfield Trust continued to focus its energies on youth offending following the sale of the Southfield Hostel. Like their grandmother before them, Southfield Trustees were determined that a clear legal distinction should be made between young people and adults in the criminal justice system. They shared the view that mixing young offenders with the adult offender population resulted in higher rates of recidivism and the increasing severity of criminal acts. The Trust continued to support neighbourhood borstal projects in the West Midlands and to work closely with probation officials. Community-police relations in Handsworth and Lozells also proved a matter of perennial interest to Southfield Trustees. This was due primarily to the sensitive nature of policing and criminal justice in communities where black self-help groups were operating with Cadbury Trusts' support.

Beyond Birmingham and the Black Country the Southfield Trust was involved in grant making at the national level to organisations including the Howard League for Penal Reform, the Prison Reform Trust and the National Association of Probation Officers. The Southfield Trust also contributed to the establishment of the Parliamentary All-Party Penal Affairs Group in 1980 and provided financial support for its administrative costs.

An exception to the Trusts' national penal affairs focus was made in 1974 when Trustees agreed to support juvenile delinquency work and police liaison in South Sudan. This grant was complementary to the broader reconciliation efforts of Lord Caradon (and Cadbury Trusts' administrator Anthony Wilson) in the region. The Trust made a series of grants to prison reformer Merfyn Turner to allow him to visit and report on British citizens held in custody overseas.

Trustees were also interested in supporting innovative research into aspects of penal affairs. The Trust helped to establish and fund Cropwood Fellowships at the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge. This scheme afforded criminal justice practitioners the opportunity to carry out intensive research into a particular field of interest and to disseminate their findings with colleagues and academics.

The relationship between women and the criminal justice system was an additional subject of concern to Southfield Trustees. Grant making in this area was directed towards regional victim support schemes, visitation projects to support the families of offenders and rape crisis centres. Cadbury Trusts' penal affairs grant making later shifted towards projects and research addressing women in the criminal justice system, though this transition occurred after the winding up of the Southfield Trust.

The Southfield Trust continued to function within the Cadbury Trusts' as a penal affairs sub-committee until its dissolution in 1994. The Trust had long since spent the proceeds of the Southfield Hostel sale in 1973 and was no longer making grants from its own funds. In 1992 Trustees were contacted by the Middlesex Area Probation Committee seeking permission to close Southfield Hostel for operational reasons. Trustees agreed to the proposal and the hostel closed that same year. This event, and the pending reorganisation of the Cadbury Trusts, led to the decision by Trustees to wind up the Southfield Trust in 1994, the same year the Southfield Hostel deed of covenant was set to expire.

The final meeting of the Southfield Trust was held on 13 November 1994. The Trusts' remaining funds, £91.45, were transferred to the Barrow and Geraldine S. Cadbury and the Trust was operationally closed. The Southfield Trust was removed from the Central Register of Charities on 29 December 1994. The function of the Southfield Trust as a specialist advisory group was transferred to the Penal Affairs Programme of the new Barrow Cadbury Trust.
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