Becoming a brother

There are places for twenty five Brothers in total and they belong either to the Hospital Foundation (Black Brothers) or the Order of Noble Poverty (Red Brothers). They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and are usually single, divorced or widowers.
The Scheme which governs the administration of the Hospital lays down that Brothers must normally be over sixty, no longer employed, and that preference should be given to those of low or limited income, although higher income is not a bar to entry. Emotional need is also considered.

Accommodation
Each Brother has a self-contained flat, dating back to the fifteenth century, consisting of a sitting room, bedroom, shower, kitchen and separate lavatory. The quarters are on the ground or first floor. These flats are not furnished, and a resident normally provides his own furniture but the Hospital can help with the provision of this if required.

The Trustees provide central heating and lighting for which a standard charge, approved by the Department of Health & Social Security, is paid by all Brothers. This is currently £45 per month. Those Brothers who have financial resources in addition to the State Pension then make a contribution based on their income and the technical rental value of the flat they occupy.
All insurance and maintenance of the building and its equipment is the responsibility of the Trustees but Brothers are responsible for insuring and maintaining their own personal possessions.  Unfortunately pets, such as cats and dogs, cannot be accepted at the Hospital.

Will/Lasting Power of Attorney
The Trustees require that Brothers make both a Will and take out a Lasting Power of Attorney before they are admitted. This is to ensure that, in the event of sudden and unexpected temporary incapacity, long-term illness or death, a Brother has clearly stated his wishes and intentions and that these are understood by relatives and/or friends.

Facilities
The Hospital provides a two-course midday meal at a subsidised price on five days a week. The Brothers cook for themselves the rest of the time.
There are gardens behind the quarters for any Brother who would like to have one.
A barber calls each month to provide a free haircut and an optician visits about four times a year.
A subsidised chiropodist calls every six weeks and the current fee is £11.00.
There is no need for a Brother over the state age of retirement to pay for a television licence: there is a communal one provided by the Trustees.
Help with cleaning is provided if needed.
There is a laundry room with washing machines and dryers.
A subsidised taxi is provided each Thursday to take Brothers to a local supermarket for their shopping.

Support
There is a house warden on duty, who will assist with surgery appointments and prescription collections. In cases of serious illness the Brothers have to go to a medical hospital but return as soon as possible with support, if necessary, from Social Services carers. However it must be pointed out that the Hospital cannot offer either clinical or personal care.
Acceptance of application is dependent on receipt of a current medical report from your doctor.

Living in the St Cross community
The Brothers do not belong to a religious order, but the Hospital is a Christian foundation and Brothers are expected to wear their gowns (which are provided) to attend morning prayers in the Church daily at 10 am for about 20 minutes. The Brothers are also encouraged to play a part in the community if they choose. This could mean taking parties round the Hospital (guiding),

Helping in the Church, etc.
Brothers lead totally independent lives and come and go as they please. If they are going to be away overnight, or on holiday, though, the Master must be informed for reasons of security and in case of emergency evacuation of the buildings. Guests of Brothers may not stay overnight in their apartments, but can be accommodated in a guest flat if one is available.

Next step
Normally, before applying officially you would have met the Master informally, so that he could show you around and answer any initial queries.
The application procedure is then as follows:

  1. Complete and return an application form.  (Please contact The Hospital of St Cross on 01962 878218 if you would like to request an application form).
  2. The Master will review the applications and you will be contacted. You may be invited by the Master to come and spend two days in the Hospital, free of charge, in the guest flat.  This is self-catering, but lunch with the Brothers will be provided at a small cost.  During this period you will discuss finances with the Clerk to the Trustees, have an interview with the Master and another Trustee, and meet the Brothers on an informal basis.
  3. The Trustees, at a Special meeting, decide whether to give formal approval for admission.  The applicant is informed of their decision by the Clerk to the Trustees.