The Company Vision
Founded in the 11th Century, The Worshipful Company of Saddlers was a medieval guild responsible for the regulation of the saddlery trade, craft and standards in the City of London and more broadly in the United Kingdom.
Today, the Company’s activities are based on charitable foundations that support and encourage the development of saddlery, equestrianism and education; and in particular where they coincide with disability and youth.
Through its 6th Royal Charter of 1995, The Saddlers retains its role as a champion and supporter of the trade, craft skills and equestrianism. This is delivered through its many affiliations, philanthropic donations and member engagement. An emphasis on training, education and pathways to employment has been maintained for much of the last century.
The Company seeks to maximise the value of its assets for the ultimate benefit of the trade, those in society who genuinely need charitable support, the sustainment of the Company and for its members.
From its historic Hall in the City of London, and under the guardianship of a Court, Perpetual Master, Prime Warden, Wardens and Livery, The Saddlers have a mandate to promote, collaborate and coordinate with the UK saddlery trade for the benefit of its long term development and success.
One of the leading Livery Companies with strong foundations and traditions, the Saddlers seek to be inclusive, diverse and approachable. Whilst maintaining and celebrating its rich heritage it is open minded and accepting of the need to innovate to succeed in the future.
The Worshipful Company of Saddlers long term vision is that there should be a thriving, prosperous, and confident saddlery trade in the United Kingdom in the long term. This will be ensured through increased support to research, innovation, skills development and collaboration as well as dialogue with other key stakeholders; including across other leather related trades. In turn this will require greater engagement with, and support to all forms of training and educational delivery in leather, including attracting people to the careers available, apprenticeships, means tested bursaries, and recognition for notable success.
The Company’s ambition is to substantially increase the real terms value of the funds that it has available to disperse to such causes. This will be achieved through a Financial Strategy that secures the existing assets of the Company, builds the capital base, whilst strongly investing for the future. It will seek ways to grow both the commercial and charitable income of the Company in real terms so that substantially more may be granted to support the trade and the Company’s charities. In turn, the Saddlers will need to increase its’ unrestricted charitable giving in support of the trade.
A 2016 Charities Review set out to refocus the Company’s grants on those areas of most relevance to its purpose as an institution. They were also chosen to ensure that it could have the greatest positive impact within society and where the public benefit would be clear. In looking to the future, the Company’s charities will need to pay increased attention to the least fortunate and poorest in society in order to address growing inequality, tensions within communities and a skills deficit.
Membership of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers should continue to reflect the interests and purposes of the Company, with a balance between trade, patrimony and equestrian members. Membership at all levels comes with rights and privileges dependent upon an individual’s position within the Company. With memberships, however, must come responsibility. All members will be expected to engage with the Company at every level to offer support, financial or otherwise, where and when they can. There should be an explicit expectation that members should put more into the Company than they take out, as they are trustees of the legacy of their predecessors, and the Company’s trade, charitable and educational objectives will require it to succeed.
The value and impact of charitable funds should also be increased through various forms of engagement with the members. A flourishing ‘liaison’ programme, active committee membership, legacies, annual fund raising events, regular donations, and a Saddlers’ Association are all means through which the vision might be achieved. Ultimately, the Company would wish its members to view it as an institution with real and relevant purpose, that improves lives across the societal spectrum and which they can be proud of and engaged with. It should be ‘their’ charity.
Members of the Saddlers should also be encouraged to engage with the City of London Civic Community and to consider a representational appointment if it suits their circumstances and ambitions.
The Strategic Vision will require the Company to coordinate, collaborate and communicate with others in order to deliver the outcomes required. This will demand strong connections to trade bodies, charities, other Livery Companies (in particular those involved in leather) and City institutions.