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What is Gislingham United Charity and what does it do?

Gislingham United Charity was formed in 1988 from eight separate charities that were established, in some cases, very many years ago. The Charity Commission which supervises UK charities wrote a new Governing Document to combine the eight charities and make their administration easier.

The charities were originally set up for the benefit of the residents of Gislingham to help those in need, to alleviate hardship or distress and they continue for this purpose today under the auspices of Gislingham United Charity. Grants can be made to both individuals and properly constituted organisations in the village.

The aims of the original eight charities were simplified and divided into three separate parts by the new Governing Document.

The first and largest of these is to help with the costs of the education of children up to the age of 18 in Gislingham. This is known as the Education Branch. About three years ago the trustees of Gislingham United Charity were able to extend the range of beneficiaries of the Education Division. With the agreement of the Charity Commission, grants can now be made to any resident of Gislingham who genuinely needs help towards the cost of education, for example; college or university fees, vocational education or re-training. Good news in the current financial climate!

The second and smallest is the Ecclesiastical Branch and is to help with the upkeep of St. Mary’s Church.

The third branch is Non-Ecclesiastical and is divided into tow “Moieties”.

The first moiety is for the relief of residents of Gislingham in need, hardship or distress.

The second moiety is for the provision and maintenance of facilities for recreation or other charitable purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish of Gislingham.

The way in which the charity works is as follows:  money was given by various benefactors originally, and in the case of the Education Division, part of the money was raised from donations from the villages of Gislingham to build a school early in the 19th century. All that funding is called a Permanent Endowment – this means it must be maintained and cannot be given away or spent. The fund has to be invested to produce an income which will be used for grants or donations to Gislingham residents who need some help with costs of education of almost any sort.

Through the hard work some years ago of Bob Moyes, our Clerk, the late Arthur Mulley, the first Chairman, and other trustees at the time, the Charity’s assets were safeguarded and have since grown in value and further funds have been added to the endowment from the sale of the old village school. Perhaps the most recognised and certainly the largest single facility Gislingham United Charity has provided to the village is Charities Meadow, purchased in December 2001, for recreational and leisure activities.

The Charity is run by a committee of eleven trustees. The only ex-officio trustee is the Rector of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Gislingham. Others are nominated by village organisations, namely Gislingham Parish Council (2), Parochial Church Council of St Mary’s Church (2), the Governors of Gislingham Primary School (1) and the Village Hall Management Committee (1). The final four are co-opted trustees. They meet bi-monthly to consider requests for grants or donations. Currently there is a vacancy for a trustee and anyone interested in serving their community in this way can contact either Bob Moyes, Clerk, or any of the current trustees on the Gislingham Parish Council website under the ‘organisations’ sub heading. Similarly the trustees will be pleased to hear from residents of Gislingham who would like more information or want to make an application for a grant. Actual grant applications should be made in writing to the clerk, Mr Bob Moyes, 37 Broadfields Road, IP23 8HX.

[Originally appeared, unattributed, in the Messenger Dec 2013]

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