Liberating Trusts

Suffolk Accident and Rescue service attending a bump, was supported by The Fonnereau Road Health Foundation.

Suffolk Community Foundation is liberating dormant or ineffective trusts, releasing millions of pounds for local charities and community groups.

These days charity giving can be as easy as making a phone call, sending a text message or clicking on a website.

Back in Victorian and Edwardian times it wasn’t quite so easy, so middle class philanthropists simply set up their own trust funds.

Most were aimed at helping the “deserving poor” but as time has gone by many of these trusts have become dormant or ineffective.

“It may be because the trusts have lost their trustees or as interest rates have fallen they do not have access to the right sort of financial, investment experience for the capital to have an income, or because the original aims of the trust are now impossible to fulfill,” says Judy Dow, our Head of Philanthropy

“For instance a trust might have been set up to support orphans of the Great War, to provide petticoats for poor girls, bread, coal, to provide clogs for workers on the 8.30am shift at a named factory or education for boys from a particular village,” explained Judy.

Locally, we have helped to liberate funds from trusts including the Shrubland Foundation and the Fonnereau Road Health Foundation.

“The Shrubland Foundation was originally set up in the 1930s with the aim of helping local people,” says David Nicolson, Personal Tax Manager at Ensors, “although more recently no grants were being made.”

“I suggested that it might be a good idea to pass the trust to Suffolk Community Foundatoin who could invest the capital and put the money to good use helping mocal charities.”

New counselling room at Survivors In Transition, Fore Street

Suffolk Accident Rescue Service on scene

So in 2011 the Shrubland Foundation was transferred to the Suffolk Giving Fund where it’s now used for general grantmaking.

The Fonnereau Road Health Foundation is one of Suffolk’s largest health charities and dates back to 1999 following the sale of Christchurch Park Hospital to BUPA.

Foundation secretary Nick Feldman said, “It has been used to help Ipswich Hospital buy equipment that was not being purchased by the NHS. For the first seven or eight years the bulk of the grants went to the hospital and then the hospice started to make approaches too.”

As the years went by trustees wanted to extend its reach and so an approach was made to Suffolk Community Foundation for its expertise in working with smaller charities.

The result was a substantial donation and the creation of Fonnereau Road Health Foundation Fund. Nick says the idea is to give grants for capital projects of no more than £5,000 and to fund 100 per cent of whatever is needed.

“Of course we will continue to support the hospital and other charities, but this means we can reach grassroots groups too.”

Charities that have already benefitted include Survivors in Transition, which works with adult survivors of sexual abuse, violence and exploitation.

Fiona Ellis, who runs the charity, said £3,490 they received had been used to fit out two new counselling rooms at their Ipswich base in Fore Street.

“Since the Jimmy Saville story broke, demand for our services has gone up by 250% and we are very, very busy.

“Yearly, we work with almost 1,000 people whose sexual abuse has resulted in problems ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to eating disorders, self-harm and difficulties with relationships and parenting.”

Equipping the counselling rooms properly was a big part of their therapeutic process, she said, as it’s important for people to feel comfortable and valued when they visit.

Another charity to benefit is Suffolk Accident Rescue Service, which provides specially trained doctors and paramedics to assist the East of England Ambulance Service at the scenes of serious incidents.

Families and volunteers at Home-Start Mid Suffolk

Families and children having fun at Home-Start Mid Suffolk

Ben Hall, from Suffolk Accident Rescue Service, said, “We received £4,574 which allowed us to equip one of our lone responders with the eight pieces of specialised equipment they need including safety clothing and a helmet.

“Sometimes our doctors are the first person at the scene of an accident and they need monitoring equipment to check the injured person’s vital signs.”

Home-Start Mid Suffolk also received a grant of £940 towards a projector, screen and laptop.

The scheme co-ordinator, Mandy Logan, said it has been invaluable as their work, which promotes the safety and welfare of children and support struggling families, relying a lot on volunteers.

Tim Holder, our Head of Public Affairs said, “The caring nature of the people of Suffolk is deeply rooted in our county’s history.

“Numerous trusts and foundations have been in existence for generations and still support their founding principles. Inevitably, as the need of our society evolves, some trusts find it difficult to operate as originally intended.

“Our team has had many conversations with those who now hold the responsibility for such trusts. The burden can weigh quite heavily upon them and sometimes solutions can seem impossible to uncover.

“Suffolk Community Foundation’s aim is to turn what might feel like an insurmountable problem into a way forward that can remain fit for purpose and help those most in need for generations to come.”

There are more excellent projects like this in Suffolk

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