Hadleigh: Charity seeks deserving causes

Charity trustee Penny Cook

Charity trustee Penny Cook - Credit: Archant

TRUSTEES of a charity, set up in 1729 to offer small grants to people in need, are struggling to find people who want their money.

Despite the current tough economic conditions, Hadleigh’s Aldham Common Charity has a cash reserve but not enough people are coming forward to ask for help.

The charity sold a piece of land to enable the Hadeligh bypass to be built, and interest on capital from the sale along with rent from the remaining land goes into a pot for worthy causes.

The charity uses the money to provide one-off grants to people of all ages who live or go to school in Hadleigh. Youngsters can apply for help with things such as school uniforms, school trips or books for university study, while elderly residents can request help with one-off items or assistance with hospital transport trips. The charity has also helped to fund youth workers at the town’s award-winning Porch Project.

Charity trustee Penny Cook said: “We are living in a time when benefits are being cut and all sorts of things are going on that could cause financial hardship. But it would appear that a lot of people in the town don’t even realise the Aldham Common Charity exists.

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“We are sitting on a reasonable pot of cash which we are looking to give to deserving people. We ask them what they need the money for, what their financial circumstances are and then we see if we can find the resources to help.”

According to the charity’s honorary clerk, Maggie Quinlan, people are sometimes deterred from seeking help because they perceive there is a stigma attached to approaching a charity.

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She added: “This is not the case and anyone who comes to us will have their request considered in the strictest confidence.The money is there for anyone who is experiencing conditions of hardship.

“When we had social services offices in the town, they used to make good use of the charity, but sadly, those who know what is going on with older people in Hadleigh have now left.

“We would be happy to think about paying for one-off items such as if an older person’s cooker had broken down and they didn’t have enough money to replace it. Although we can’t get involved in funding things on an ongoing basis, the charity has a wide remit and the trustees will consider anything.”

Hadleigh resident Elaine Root praised the charity and urged people to come forward for assistance. She said: “My daughter received help to buy some of the text books she needed and we were extremely grateful for that. The charity made such a big difference to her; I decided to become a trustee.”

Anyone interested in benefiting from the Aldham Common Charity can email in the first instance to aldhamcommoncharity@hotmail.co.uk

Hadleigh also has several other charities with an educational remit. Call the town council on 01473 823884 to be put in touch.

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