A Brief History of the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association

For over 90 years the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association has been helping the people of Bermuda.

Founded in 1932 by Lady Cubitt, wife of the Governor at the time, the Association’s purpose was the relief of poverty, suffering and distress of Bermuda families. Lady Cubitt had become aware of a number of elderly people who were destitute. It was distressing to her to find people who had worked hard all their lives and were unable to maintain themselves in their old age. The Association was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1945 and since its founding the wife of each successive Governor has always kindly agreed to be its Patron.

Another focus of the Association was the protection and care of neglected and needy children. As a result of this in particular, the Association became the only “Approved Society” under the Protection of Children’s Act, 1943 and received grants from Government for use in this regard. By 1956, the Association’s Protection of Children Committee had eighty-two under its care and during that year placed five children for adoption. The Association continued its good work in this area until 1970 when the Government assumed all the responsibility in this regard.

From 1946 to 1956, the Association had operated the Ridgeway Home for children. Sponsored jointly by a number of philanthropic organisations, the home had been maintained exclusively for white children under the terms of a Trust, this being a reflection of our society at the time. However in 1956, it became apparent that the need for the home was steadily decreasing and the decision was reluctantly taken to suspend its operation.

In 1951, the Association began assisting residents who needed to travel abroad for medical treatment not available in Bermuda. Hilda Aitken, one of the first two women elected to serve in the House of Assembly, was appointed chairman of the Social Welfare Board. In that role, she was successful in obtaining parliamentary approval for £2,000 in funding for the Association to assist people with overseas medical care. In 1956 the grant stood at £4,000.

The Association still continues to perform this operation today through the Patient Overseas Financial Aid Programme, administered on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Seniors and to which the Association contributes part of the administration cost.

Also under its General Assistance Programme, the Association continues with its original purpose, assisting the needy, particularly the elderly, both emotionally and financially, with attention also given to special needs children who may have little or no insurance coverage.

For all of its life, the Association has relied heavily on the support of the business community to fund its operations. It also received funds from its annual tag day, membership dues and over the years through many fundraising events such as the 1956 LCCA Fete held at the Agricultural Station and a Floral Ball held at the Bermudiana Hotel. Sadly, it is difficult to note all that took place in the early years of the Association as all its records were destroyed in the Hamilton Hotel fire in December 1955.

As it moves forward, the Association continues to  explore new ways it can help the Bermuda community.