The Belfast Ballast Board (now the Belfast Harbour Commissioners) was set up in 1785 under an Act of Parliament designed to cleansing the ports, harbours and rivers of Belfast, Cork, Galway, Sligo and Drogheda. It was under this 1785 Act the new Ballast Board took a role in the upkeep of the Belfast Charitable Society and the Poor House. “…and if any surplus [profits] shall remain, the same shall be paid to the presidents and assistants for the time being, of the Belfast Charitable Society, for the better support of the poor-house and infirmary of the town of Belfast.” This was a tremendous boost to the Belfast Charitable Society, however, there were not immediate benefits.
The investment required in the harbour in Belfast was vast. It was growing at immense pace and all the money was required to continue the development of the port. In 1817, the Society were under tremendous pressure as fever swept into Belfast and claimed many lives. The newly opened Fever Hospital in Frederick Street was immediately full and money was required for the treatment and burial of all the fever victims. In July 1817 the Belfast Charitable Society wrote to the Ballast Board, explaining the dire circumstances within the town. They requested assistance for the fever hospital. The Ballast Board sent £300 to the fever hospital. In addition to this, they sent £1000 to the Belfast Charitable Society on 12th July 1817. Despite their own financial difficulties, the Society gave £500 of the money to the House of Industry in an effort to assist as many people as possible. The £1000 grant surely saved both institutions and enabled them to continue to care for those who were sick and destitute in Belfast.