West’s Educational Charity
Francis West, by will dated 31 March 1690, directed £400 to be laid out in land, the rents thereof to be equally divided amongst the poor of Chalgrave and Hockliffe, to enable them to put their children to school, with a conditional gift over for testator’s poor relations. The legacy was laid out in the purchase of lands in Simpson, Bucks., in lieu of which 33 acres, or thereabouts, were allotted in 1766 on the inclosure in that parish, producing about £32 a year, which under an order of the Charity Commissioners of 4 April 1905 was determined to be wholly applicable for educational purposes, and was carried to the general account of the National school at Chalgrave which was also attended by the children of Hockliffe. Fortunately this land was in the Milton Keynes designated area and the capital is now considerable and grants are made each year by the trustees.
West’s Educational Charity
As many of you know, West’s Educational Charity is a local charity which gives grants to young people under the age of 25 residing in the parishes of Hockliffe or Chalgrave. The grants must be for an educational purpose.
There are six Trustees: three from Hockliffe (Paul Dickens, Claire Vogeli and Nicola Benger), three from Chalgrave (Vicky Greenwood, Phil Parry and Daniel Osborn) and a Local Authority (Central Bedfordshire) representative.
There are usually 3 meetings a year: the ones in January and July are for allocating grants and there is usually one other to discuss financial matters. The value of the charity’s assets varies considerably from year to year in line with fluctuations in the financial markets, at the moment the fund value is in the region of £650,000. Annual income is around £20,000 – £25,000.
The number of applications for grants has risen considerably over the past 10 years and we reached the position where there was insufficient income to preserve the capital base for future generations and to pay out all applications in full. We therefore had to adopt guidelines in an attempt to be as fair as possible to everyone. These rules have to be flexible and sometimes they need to be tweaked, particularly in times when interest rates are so low and our income has fallen.
- Applicants must reside in the parishes of Hockliffe or Chalgrave and be under the age of 25.
- All applications on behalf of children/young people under the age of 18 at the time of the application must be made by a parent/carer on behalf of that child/young person.
- All applications on behalf of young people aged 18 to 24 at the time of the application must be made by that young person him/herself.
We would usually expect to pay
- Student grant of £200 per half year for those studying full time for a degree.
- A contribution towards costs of post 16 education (including part-time college, apprenticeships etc).
- 50% of the cost of lessons in the performing arts (music, dance, drama etc).
- 50% of the cost of sporting activities (football, rugby, cricket, netball, riding etc).
- 75% of the cost of swimming lessons (except for children attending Hockliffe Lower School, who get them free of charge through the school, financed by West’s Charity).
We will continue to make contributions to school trips of an educational nature. (This does not include trips which are wholly for leisure, such as AltonTowers, Legoland etc.).
We will only pay routine travel expenses in exceptional circumstances.
There will be a maximum grant per child/young person per application, which will vary from meeting to meeting depending upon funds available (currently £150) except for:-
- Those receiving the £200 student grant.
- Out-of-the-ordinary, one-off events.
- Exceptional circumstances.
It is very important that people remember that these are only examples. ANYONE under 25 residing in Hockliffe or Chalgrave is encouraged to apply for a grant towards ANY educational activity. NOTHING WHATSOEVER is ruled out, so long as the activity is educational.
Receipts are required to support all applications, except the £200 student grant. It is very rare that this rule is waived and there must be an extremely good reason. No receipt usually means no grant.
Trustees meet in January and July. Applications will be considered at the January meeting if received by the clerk on or before 31 December of the previous year. Applications will be considered at the July meeting if received by the clerk on or before 30 June of that year. If a deadline is missed, the application will automatically be considered at the next meeting. For example, an application received on 3 January 2017 will be considered at the July 2017 meeting. Only in very exceptional circumstances (e.g. postal strike) will this rule be waived.
These new guidelines will apply from 2016 onwards. So any new application from now onwards will be subject to them. The Trustees can and may well vary them at a particular meeting, especially if there is insufficient income from the fund to meet all the applications. It is therefore imperative that people do not expect that they will automatically get a grant based on the new guidelines.
Contact addresses for Trustees in Chalgrave: