About Weybridge Charity
Weybridge Charity (previously Weybridge Land Charity) is a long established local charity in Weybridge, Surrey, which aims to help Weybridge residents who are in financial need.
In addition, Weybridge Charity owns and is responsible for the Churchfields Allotments. These are managed by the Weybridge Allotment Holders and Gardeners Association, who organise their upkeep and lettings.
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 to benefit the poor of Weybridge. The Charity's Object was amended in 2000 in order to remain in line with that. Its sole Object is “the relief of persons resident in the area of benefit who are in need, hardship or distress”.
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 area.
Weybridge Charity Trustees 2020
Helen Lamb (CHAIR)
Michael J. Freeman
Glenn P. Dearlove
Peter M. Harman
Barry J. F. Cheyne