CISWO is a product of nationalisation. It was established as a limited company under the Miners’ Welfare Act 1952. The funding and functions of earlier organisations, which had a less comprehensive network, were transferred to the umbrella of CISWO. Besides providing direct services to miners in their communities, it presided over the network of more than 400 miners’ welfare schemes, including miners’ institutes and recreation and social centres. It was also involved with welfare committees, trusts, funds and convalescent homes.
The funding for CISWO’s activities was allowed under section 13 of the 1952 Act. The National Coal Board, and latterly the British Coal Corporation, made payments to CISWO which allowed it to meet the costs of carrying out its activities. Up until 1987, British Coal’s annual contribution to CISWO was in the region of £2 million per annum. In 1987, an agreed scheme provided that its funding would take the form of a levy on British Coal’s production at 2p per tonne of total output of saleable coal. British Coal, CISWO and the mining unions were party to that scheme, which continued up to the privatisation of the coal industry in 1994. CISWO also derived other income, mainly from grant aid from outside bodies, interest receivable and recovery of social work costs.
At the time of privatisation, CISWO became a charitable trust and consideration was given to how it might continue post-privatisation. A financial package was put together that allowed CISWO to continue with its activities in the mining communities. That was in two parts: British Coal, not the Government, provided a cash endowment totalling £12 million, and a covenant arrangement was put in place whereby the successor companies would provide CISWO with funding of £1 million a year up to and including 1999. That made a total of £17 million, which is not an insubstantial sum in a period of transition. The package up to 1999 was designed to give CISWO the time, resources and manoeuvrability in which to build up its grant and fundraising capabilities in the charitable sector—something that it had been unable to do as a company.
A further significant major constitutional change took place in 2014 when the Trustees, to facilitate recruitment and retention, agreed that the charity should seek incorporation. Due to the Organisation’s extensive property interests and a desire not to have the pension scheme liability crystallised, incorporation was achieved by amending the Organisation’s Supplementary Trust Deed to allow for the appointment of a Corporate Trustee. The Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation 2014 (CISWO 2014) was established as an incorporated charity and appointed to become the Trustee from 1 January 2015.
The objects of the Charity, when established in 1995, were designed to be extremely wide ranging in order to allow Trustees to focus resources on priorities which could vary from time to time. However, the major criteria has been, and continues to be, the provision of advice and practical services to mining beneficiaries and their dependants, most of whom are retired and disadvantaged by ill health and/or disability.
The objects of the Organisation are the promotion of health, the relief of poverty and hardship, the advancement of education (including social and physical training activities, which are charitable by virtue of Section 1 of the Recreational Charities Act 1958) and any other charitable purpose for the benefit of employees and former employees of the coal mining industry in the United Kingdom employed in, or formerly employed in, any present or past coal mining area of the United Kingdom, and of their relatives and dependants, and of those communities in which they live within those areas.