About Weybridge Charity
The Weybridge Charity (full name, Weybridge Poor’s Land Charity) was established as a local Charity to help those in need or distress and living in the Parish of Weybridge, Surrey 110 years ago by earning income for financial grants by renting field garden allotments.
Today, the Weybridge Charity owns and is responsible for the Churchfields Allotments in central Weybridge. The day-to-day running of these allotments and plot lettings are managed by the Weybridge Allotment Holders and Gardeners Association (WAHGA).
Origin of the Weybridge Charity
FORMATION IN 1811 - An Award was made in 1811 under the terms of the Weybridge and Byfleet Enclosure Act 1800, that parts of the waste and commons in the Parish of Weybridge amounting to 71 acres 3 roods 36 poles (being the present Weybridge Heath in Hanger Hill including the Cricket Ground, Heath Road, Brooklands Lane & Road and St. Georges Avenue) be set out for the use of occupiers of cottages within the Parish. Such occupiers would have the sole and exclusive right of using these commons and waste lands for pasture etc. That Award also established the Weybridge Poor’s Land Charity (now called Weybridge Charity) to oversee the operation of these rights and become the owner of the above lands.
REQUIREMENT FOR ALLOTMENTS - In 1882 the Government required all Charities, which owned land for the benefit of the poor to set aside land for allotments. To avoid any part of the Heath being used for allotments, a number of residents arranged for 10 acres of the Heath to be leased to them so as to provide the Trustees with sufficient funds whereby the Charity was able to lease alternative acreage for allotments being the land which forms the present Churchfields Allotments.
EXCHANGE OF LANDS - The Trustees realised that the Charity would be unable to raise sufficient funds to purchase the Churchfields Allotments at the expiry of the lease, so negotiations commenced with the former Weybridge Urban District Council. Accordingly, the Weybridge Urban District Council agreed in 1910 to purchase Churchfields Allotments and also land in Pine Grove (a total of 10 acres) for transfer to the Charity in exchange for the whole of the Charity’s land holding on Weybridge Heath on condition that the Council would also become the corporate Trustee of the Charity and therefore be responsible for its future administration.
ANNUAL DISTRIBUTIONS TO THE POOR - From 1910 to 1999 the Charity’s income was derived from allotment rents and a few investments, in roughly equal proportions. After providing for administration and management expenses, the remainder was distributed to the deserving poor who were resident in the Parish of Weybridge.
CURRENT ARRANGEMENTS - That position remained unaltered until 1992 when the Charity Commission approved a new Scheme whereby the local authority (Elmbridge Borough Council) agreed to surrender its role as corporate Trustee. The Charity now has a revised constitution with eleven independent Managing Trustees to administer the Charity. Six of those Trustees (who need not necessarily be Council Members) are nominated by Elmbridge Borough Council and the remaining five by the Trustees.
The sale of the small Pine Grove allotment land holding in 1999 provided sufficient additional investment income to extend considerably the Charity’s work and enable it to have its own separate administration. Due to the previous historic lack of funding, the Charity has since undertaken considerable capital and improvement works at the Churchfields Allotments, which has made them more easily workable.
The objective of the Charity has always been, and through various amendments to the Constitution since 1910, still remains the “Relief of persons resident in the Parish of Weybridge who are in need, hardship or distress”.
Particularly in these COVID-19 times when many more people need not just financial support, the Charity Trustees expects to make grants and provide assistance in ways and forms that benefit groups of people and which will provide enduring benefits.
From 2002 the area of benefit was extended to the whole of Weybridge as determined by the boundaries of the local government wards of Weybridge North and South, Oatlands Park and St Georges Hill. It comprises the Weybridge KT13 Postcode.
The current Trustees of the Charity are:
- Helen L Lamb (Chair)
- Graham Pearse (Vice-Chair)
- Carlye Case
- Steve J Fuller
- Murray J Law
- Vicki Macleod
- Jackie Martin