The Wrington Parish Charities are a collection of relatively small bequests made by individuals for the benefit of their fellow parishioners, starting way back in the 19C.
For example, on 17th May, 1814, John Wilkins left an amount equivalent to 21 income shares (that’s £10 a share in today’s prices, so not a fortune), Thomas Thatcher 14 shares on 8th October, 1842.
Over the years, they’ve all been amalgamated under the single title, Wrington Parish Charities, although the money continues to be held under their original names, providing income from the Charities Investment Fund. The value of the combined holdings of these small amounts totals around £5.5K. The income they contribute consequently ranges from a few pounds a year to a total of nearly £300.
We also receive occasional very welcome donations from individuals anonymously, and organisations such as the Annual Show Committee, which enable us, not only to resist the slings and arrows of outrageous bankers, but, as in the last couple of years, to increase the value of the vouchers we dispense to £20, redeemable at businesses in the parish, and issued in early December, in time for Christmas. We refund to the shopkeepers the value of the vouchers they’ve taken, and we receive some very appreciative cards and other messages of thanks from recipients, of whom up to 18 live in Wrington, and 6 in Redhill.
The trustees are bound to make an annual report of income and expenditure to the Charity Commission. Apart from me, the other trustees are the Rector, ex officio, and 3 Parish Council nominees - Hilary Vowles of Redhill, and Pauline Wathen and Judy Gallop in Wrington. As long-term, if not born-and-bred residents in the parish, they have knowledge of, and sensitivity towards, the needs of local people, mainly, if not exclusively, elderly and living alone.
Such parish charities may have their origin in another era, when parishes were the sole source of support to those in need, and the amounts involved may seem almost trivial by today’s values. However, we should appreciate a tradition which today enables us as a community to continue showing a sense of concern for fellow parishioners, and which seeks to bolster in them a sense of belonging - something not, unfortunately, universal in an increasingly urban society.