The Society of Merchant Venturers has been closely involved in the care of older people in Bristol, and those at disadvantage, for more than 300 years.

Initially, as Trustee of the Merchants’ Almshouses in King Street and Colston’s Almshouses on St. Michael’s Hill; during the last century, through our close relationship with the St Monica Trust; and most recently, through the Cote Charity, which owns and runs Katherine House and Griffiths House.

SMV is Trustee of the Cote Charity, which provides built-for-purpose retirement housing and care for older people. The charityruns Katherine House, a 41-bed residential care home based on a beautiful site in Westbury-on-Trym, and Griffiths House, located on the same site, an eight-bed specialist dementia care home, which was officially opened in 2017 by HRH The Princess Royal.

SMV’s involvement with Bristol’s almshouses dates back over 300 years, when the Society became Trustee of Colston’s Almshouses on St Michael’s Hill, built in 1691. This Grade 1 listed building has been refurbished in order to provide sheltered accommodation for its residents in 12 comfortable flats with an onsite laundry, communal lounge, common room and chapel.

The St Monica Trust is recognised as being a leading provider of retirement accommodation and care in a range of different settings. SMV is responsible for the management of a substantial endowment on behalf of the charity as well as providing nominations to the Council of Trustees, which oversees the strategic direction of the Trust.

The Trust operates five retirement communities across Bristol, the most recent being the former Cadbury’s chocolate factory in Keynsham which opened in 2017.

In addition to the operational activities of the Trust, it also provides monetary assistance for people who are facing financial hardship and who have a long-term physical health problem.