Charity faces closure in search for trustees
A CHARITY which helps adults with learning disabilities achieve new skills could close if more trustees are not found, it has been warned.
The Millennium Farm Trust, based at Rede Hall Farm, near Bury St Edmunds, was established in 1996 with the aim of providing work and training opportunities for adults with learning disabilities in farming, conservation and the rural environment in Suffolk.
Co-founder and trustee Bernadette Shrubshall said the charity desperately needed more trustees as two needed to retire for family and health reasons.
That would just leave Ms Shrubshall, which would be against Charity Commission rules requiring charities to have a minimum of three.
Trustees need to be in place by September 25 as that is when the charity would have to give its notice on the workshop and land at Rede Hall Farm if it is unable to continue.
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Funding is also a concern – the charity only has enough cash for two months’ running costs – but finding trustees was the main issue, Ms Shrubshall said.
“If we don’t get the trustees it will close – even if someone gives us �1million we will still have to close. We cannot run a charity without trustees.”
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She added: “It’s very stressful. A lot of people have put a lot of time and hard work into this charity.”
Ms Shrubshall said the charity, which also operates from Old Hall Farm at East Bergholt, was a unique project in the county. “There isn’t another project in farming for people with learning disabilities and it’s so therapeutic and so beneficial and they get such a lot out of it.”
County councillor Craig Dearden-Phillips said he would donate some of his locality budget to the charity, even though it is not in his patch.
To become a trustee, or donate funds, contact Ms Shrubshall on 01359 230498.
She said trustees needed to be over 18, able to put four to five hours a month into trustee work, and possess integrity and honesty and are able to manage their own affairs.
For more information on The Millennium Farm Trust visit www.m-f-t.org.uk