Blundeston Charity Trustees
The Blundeston Charity Trustees are responsible for the administration of three separate charities, the Towns Estate, the Bays Charity and the Poors Allottments. The assets of these charities consist of land, plus investments received from the sale of land in the past. For an example the land on which Meadowlands is built used to be allotments which belonged to the Charity Trustees.
There are five Trustees, four of whom are appointed by Blundeston and Flixton Parish Council whilst the other is ex-officio and is the incumbent parish Priest of Blundeston. They are served by a Clerk who receives an honorarium for her services.
The current Trustees are:
Graham Wade (Chairman) - Tel: 01502 735957
John Nichols - Tel: 01502 732261
Glenis Soanes - Tel: 01502 730184
Julie Hetherington - Tel: 01502 730633
The clerk is Sarah Wells - Tel: 01502 716706 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the Charity Trustees land is rented out on long term agricultural leases, whilst the remainder, like the nine acres of marshland, is let on an annual basis. The annual lets are advertised in September each year and the land then leased to the highest bidder for the following year. The shooting rights over the Trustees land are let separately on an annual basis to the highest bidder.
Income from the rents and the interest from investments is the responsibility of the Trustees to use in accordance with the Deeds of the Trust. In this respect they are responsible to and are monitored by the Charity Commissioners. They are a national body which oversee the finances, business and probity of all Charities in England and Wales.
The first responsibility of the Trustees is to the maintenance of their property in good order. For an example the marshes have to be managed to comply with the requirements of an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) status for which the Trustees receive a grant from DEFRA. The dykes have to be kept clear, thistles cut down, gates and fences maintained in good order and the input of phosphates and nitrates to the land controlled. Because of ESA grazing restrictions the marshes are only let from March to October. This maximises their benefit to both the flora and fauna of these precious wetlands.
Investments also have to be made in accordance with the requirements of the Charity Commissioners in approved bank accounts and bonds.
The second responsibility of the Trustees is one of care for the poor and needy of the parish of Blundeston. In the past this has taken the form of an annual distribution of vouchers to old age pensioners, widows and widowers. In recent years book tokens have also been given to full time university students living away from home. In 2010 this was changed to an annual grant to students paid to them before the start of the academic year. Since 2003 the Trustees have been trying to widen the net to include individuals in need whatever their age or marital status. This is very much in line with the spirit of their Trust Deed. The trustees have attempted to achieve this by asking people to complete a simple form requesting help and providing some supporting evidence, whilst avoiding any suggestion of means testing.
The Trustees meet about four times a year depending on the business requirements.
If anyone has any queries regarding the work of the Trustees then they can be addressed through this website or direct to any one of the Trustees listed above.
The Trustees try to target their resources for the annual distribution to the most deserving people in the village irrespective of age or marital status. Anyone could apply provided that they have lived in the Blundeston for at least the last three years. The Trustees want the vouchers to go to homes where their receipt really will make a difference to Christmas.
As a general guidance, pensioners existing solely on the state pension, single parent families, those on sickness benefit, income support or job seekers allowance should definitely apply. This list is not exhaustive but gives a general idea of those who we expect to be helping. This guidance is in keeping with the aims of the Charity, and the terms of the Trust Deed, to look after the poor and needy of the Parish. Forms were distributed to all homes in the village and application had to be made, with some supporting evidence, to the Trustees. Any supporting information supplied is treated in strictest confidence.
In the past the Trustees have awarded grants to students at University or College, who are studying on a full time course and living away from home.
In order to qualify for the grant the student must not be in receipt of an income or a bursary and must have a permanent address in the village and been resident for at least three years.
Small grants have been made to the local school to help genuine cases of need in relation to school trips.
Purchase of a property for rent
In February 2010 the Charity Trustees acquired a new 4 bedroomed house in the village, Plot 2 The hedgerows, for rent. Under the terms of our trust deed we are required to let the property at current rental prices in order to maximise our asset and further the main remits of the Charity. The property rental is being handled through our agents Messrs Durrants of 10 New Market, Beccles IP19 8AH. Tel: 01502 712122