The Charity dates from informal distributions of oatmeal that were made to the poor of Bakewell and Longstone at Holme Bridge. When Archer Family properties were sold in 1802 a requirement was placed on the purchasers of the 7 lots to continue to fund this food relief.
As the food/income had to be split between the Parishes of Great Longstone and Bakewell it was agreed at some point that Bakewell would collect and keep the income from three of the lots whilst Great Longstone would collect the income from the 4 lots that had been bought by the Duke of Devonshire. As each Parish should get the income from 3.5 lots it was agreed that Longstone would pass to Bakewell the income from ½ of 1 lot (basically 1/8th of the Oatmeal or money that came each year from Chatsworth). The Chatworth Estate 'bought out' its committment by making a final payment in 1988, which was invested by the charity trustees and continues to provide the organisations modest income.
During the 19th Century oatmeal and wheat flour was bought and distributed to the needy of the parish, normally over a 6 week period in January & February each year. Distributions of oatmeal and wheat flour continued until the middle of the 2nd World War and only stopped when the Parish Council had difficulty finding any merchants willing to tender to supply the oatmeal & flour. From the 1940s, until the closure of the Post Office in 2002, vouchers were given that could be redeemed in village shops. Since the closure of the village Post Office cash grants have been paid each year, to villagers considered to be in need.
The Objects of the Charity, which predates the 1834 Poor Law Act, the establishment of Parish Councils and the modern welfare state, are “Distribution of Oatmeal to the Poor”. Management of this charity passed to the Parish Council when it was established in 1894. The organisation was registered with the Charity Commissioners on 13th August 1968 and the current trustees were appointed by Great Longstone Parish Council on the 13th July 2011.
Governance is based on an extract from a Charity Commission report from the 1820s (see below).