Reading Almshouse Charity (RAC) is an amalgamation of a number of smaller almshouse charities, which have been providing social housing in Reading for over 200 years. RAC is a non-profit making Charitable Incorporated Organisation and is operated in accordance with its Constitution dated 8 July 2013 and any subsequent amendments. The purpose of the Charity is to provide housing accommodation for persons of good character, in need, who have resided within 20 miles of Reading town centre for at least three years.


RAC is administered by voluntary Trustees. Day-to-day management is delegated to, and carried out by, the Clerk to the Trustees and the Property Managers. The Charity is a member of the Almshouse Association.


RAC provides unfurnished dwellings on three sites in the Reading area:

  • Penton House, Kennet Island, Reading
  • Castle Street Almshouses, Castle Street, Reading
  • Liberty House, Earley, Reading

Dwellings at all sites are flats and studios for single people or couples and none are suitable for families, so we are unable to accommodate children. We are also unable to accept pets.

Penton House, built in 2011, has 41 almshouse flats (all of which are suitable for couples), plus a communal lounge and kitchen area, guest room, laundry facilities, an extra bathroom and offices for the Charity. Residents are restricted by a planning condition to those aged 55 and over.

The Castle Street Almshouses comprise 27 almshouse flats, (4 of which are suitable for couples), laundry facilities and a communal lounge.

Liberty House has 36 almshouse flats (28 of which are suitable for couples), plus a communal lounge and kitchen area, guest room, laundry facilities and an office for the Manager.

All sites have outside areas available for the enjoyment of all residents and where social events are held.

Almshouses provide security and residents are encouraged to make friends and share a wider social life through use of the communal lounge and other available facilities and events. However, the Almshouses are not a nursing home nor a care home and residents must be capable of leading independent lives.

Prospective Residents

To qualify as a resident of one of our almshouses a person must:

  • be of good character
  • be in need, for example harassment, overcrowding, medical need, social need, financial need
  • have resided within 20 miles of St. Mary’s Church, St. Mary’s Butts, Reading for not less than three years at some stage during their lifetime before the time of appointment

We screen all applicants carefully and an offer of accommodation will only be made with satisfactory references and after an interview with staff and trustees. Residents occupy under a licence agreement.

Historically our residents are typically older people, but there is no age restriction at Castle Street or Liberty House and the Charity is keen to assist all age groups where there is a genuine need.