The Sibford Town Estates Charity and the Fuel Allotments Charity are both registered with, and controlled by, the Charity Commission. The governing instrument in both cases is dated 12th January 1922, and there are nine trustees, four nominative and five co-optative, who are solely responsible for administering the Charities. The beneficial areas are Sibford Gower and Burdrop.
These two Trusts emanate from a multitude of bequests of small parcels of land dating back, in some instances, hundreds of years. They were eventually assembled by the Charity Commissioners and substituted by Sibford Heath Farm and allotments, and the area known as the Fuel Lands. The incomes from these properties can be applied strictly to the named localities – the permitted distribution is one third to the relief and maintenance of the poor in Sibford Gower, one third to charitable and pious purposes and one third to local education. The whole Fuel Land income is applied to the distribution of fuel every winter.
Now that the responsibility for the relief of the poor has passed from Parish to the County and State, poverty has become a private matter between an individual and a Professional responsible for the new Social Services. Consequently, the Parish Trustees are now ill-informed, and at times unaware of, true poverty. And, indeed great care has to be taken that a Charity grant and/or award does not jeopardise any State aid. The Trustees are now faced with he dilemma – is anyone really poor if they take advantage of all the State services available?
However, the Village Trustees are always approachable, and any appeal for assistance will be dealt with fairly and sympathetically but it does not mean that the availability of funds guarantees a grant!
John C. Andrews (Hon. Sec.)